Deepwater Reef Fishes and Multibeam Bathymetry of the Tortugas South Ecological Reserve, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The Tortugas South Ecological Reserve, located along the margin of the southwest Florida carbonate platform, is part of the largest no-take marine reserve in the U.S. Established in July 2001, the reserve is approximately206 km2 in area, and ranges in depths from 30 m at Riley’s Hump to over 600 m at the southern edge of the reserve. Geological and biological information for the Tortugas South Reserve is lacking, and critical for management of the area. Bathymetric surveys were conducted with a Simrad EM 3000 multibeam echosounder at Riley’s Hump and Miller’s Ledge, located in the northern and central part of the reserve. Resulting data were used to produce basemaps to obtain geological ground truth and visual surveys ofbiological communities, including reef fishes. Visual surveys were conducted using SCUBA and the Phantom S2 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) at Riley’s Hump. Visual surveys were conducted using the ROV and the Deepworker 2000 research submersible along Miller’s Ledge, withinand outside of the reserve. A total of 108 fishes were recorded during SCUBA, ROV, and submersible observations. Replicate survey transects resulted in over 50 fishesdocumented at Miller’s Ledge, and eight of the top ten most abundant species were planktivores. Many species of groupers, including scamp (Mycteroperca phenax), red grouper (Epinephelus morio), snowy grouper (E. niveatus), speckled hind (E. drummondhayi), and Warsaw grouper (E.nigritus), are present in the sanctuary. Numerous aggregations of scamp and a bicolor phase of the Warsaw grouper were observed, indicating the importance of Miller’s Ledge as a potential spawning location for both commercially important and rare deep reef species, and as a potential source of larval recruits for the Florida Keys and other deep reef ecosystems of Florida.
Was this content written or created while at USF?
Citation / Publisher Attribution
Deepwater Reef Fishes and Multibeam Bathymetry of the Tortugas South Ecological Reserve, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida, in J. C. Taylor (Ed.), Emerging Technologies for Reef Fisheries Research and Management, NOAA Professional Paper NMFS, p. 46-68
Scholar Commons Citation
Weaver, Douglas C.; Naar, David F.; and Donahue, Brian T., "Deepwater Reef Fishes and Multibeam Bathymetry of the Tortugas South Ecological Reserve, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida" (2006). Marine Science Faculty Publications. 2210.