Estuarine residence, habitat use, and movements of tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis) in the Ossabaw Sound Estuary, Georgia
Streich, Matthew Karl
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The degree to which tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis) utilize estuaries is unknown. The objective of my study was to describe the estuarine residence and movements of tripletail within the Ossabaw Sound Estuary (OSE) in Georgia. In summer of 2010 and 2011, adult tripletail were surgically implanted with ultrasonic transmitters. Residence and movements were monitored using a stationary array of acoustic receivers and active telemetry. Nearly continuous estuarine residence was observed between March and November at sustained water temperatures above 21°C. Movements occurred with the tidal currents. Likely, this passive transport requires reduced energy demands normally associated with active swimming and osmoregulation and may be partially responsible for the species’ rapid growth rate. My study demonstrates that estuarine habitat use is an important component of tripletail life history; however, the seasonal occurrence observed reflects the migratory nature of tripletail. Future studies are needed to better understand the species potentially complex stock structure.