Habitat use and movement of subadult red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, within a salt marsh-estuarine system
Dresser, Brian Kelly
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Ultrasonic telemetry was used to measure temporal and spatial patterns of movements in subadult red drum Sciaenops ocellatus, within a salt marsh-estuarine system. In summer and autumn 2001 and 2002, 31 individuals (30.8 cm ± 4.3 S.D. total length) were captured by hook and line, surgically implanted with ultrasonic transmitters and released within the upper reaches of the Duplin River estuary, Sapelo Island, Georgia. A stationary array of 10 receivers/data loggers recorded 125,198 fish detections. The data showed that fish exhibited a high degree of site fidelity and a variety of individual movement patterns, ranging from little or no movement to regular forays related to tidal and diel cycles. With the exception of a floating dock structure, no clear patterns of orientation toward specific natural habitat features (e.g. intertidal creek channels, oyster reefs, etc.) or potential prey resources could be demonstrated. Although the study was conducted within a National Estuarine Research Reserve, unrestricted recreational angling was a known, or suspected factor in the loss of ~42% of tagged fish in 2002.