Living Marine Resources Virtual Oral Abstracts
Dec 01, 2020 02:00 PM - Dec 31, 2020 03:30 PM(America/Chicago)
20201201T1400 20201201T1530 America/Chicago Living Marine Resources - Fish (Oral)

Although subject to long-term fluctuations and episodic anthropogenic impacts, the northern Gulf of Mexico continues to support a diversity of productive fisheries and sustain flora and fauna that are of interest to conservationists. This track will focus on the applied ecology of living resources in the Gulf of Mexico. A major challenge of working toward sustainability in this region is to balance the interests of stakeholders while continuing to develop data, models and management policies that result in long-term benefits. Potential presentation topics include research that addresses management questions necessary for sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ranging from single species to entire ecosystems. Ecological studies help us understand the results of different management decisions and restoration activities, especially as we evaluate the consequences of natural and human-caused changes and changes to management and conservation strategies. Potential presentations for this track will allow the research community, private sector, community action groups, resource managers and NGOs to share knowledge with coastal decision-makers and increase dialogue among these groups.

Virtual 2020 Bays and Bayous Symposium melissa.schneider@usm.edu
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration logoMobile Bay National Estuary Program logoMississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium logoThe University of Southern Mississippi  logoDauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation logoAlabama State Port Authority logoMississippi Commercial Fisheries United logoGulf of Mexico Alliance logoHydro, LLC logoGeosyntec  logoNorthern Gulf Institute logoGoodwyn Mills & Cawood, Inc. logoNeel-Schaffer, inc. logoHeadwaters LLC logoStantec Consulting Services Inc. logoDog River Clearwater Revival logoEnvironmental Science Associates (ESA) logoThompson Engineering logo

Although subject to long-term fluctuations and episodic anthropogenic impacts, the northern Gulf of Mexico continues to support a diversity of productive fisheries and sustain flora and fauna that are of interest to conservationists. This track will focus on the applied ecology of living resources in the Gulf of Mexico. A major challenge of working toward sustainability in this region is to balance the interests of stakeholders while continuing to develop data, models and management policies that result in long-term benefits. Potential presentation topics include research that addresses management questions necessary for sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico ranging from single species to entire ecosystems. Ecological studies help us understand the results of different management decisions and restoration activities, especially as we evaluate the consequences of natural and human-caused changes and changes to management and conservation strategies. Potential presentations for this track will allow the research community, private sector, community action groups, resource managers and NGOs to share knowledge with coastal decision-makers and increase dialogue among these groups.

Documentation of Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) space use and move persistence in the northern Gulf of Mexico facilitated by angler advocatesView Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 02:00 PM - 02:15 PM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/01 20:00:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 20:15:00 UTC
Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) are a popular sportfish that make long coastal migrations from the southern Gulf of Mexico to the northern Gulf in the late spring. The species is long lived and slow maturing, which makes them susceptible to the synergistic effects of overfishing and climate change and, as a result, they are currently listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Yet, significant gaps remain in our understanding of tarpon space use, movement, and biology, particularly in the northern Gulf of Mexico, which hinders our ability to properly manage the species. From 2018-2019, citizen scientists facilitated the tagging of 23 tarpon with towed SPOT tags in Alabama and Louisiana waters to examine space use and movement across the northern Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, space use was examined using movement-based kernel densities to estimate simplified biased random bridge-based utilization distributions and movement was examined using a joint move persistence model to estimate a behavioral index for each tarpon. Utilization distributions were highest at the southwest portion of the Mississippi River Delta, an area previously predicted as a potential spawning habitat for the species. Tarpon move persistence was highest off the Mississippi and Alabama coasts and lowest in Louisiana waters. Our examination of tarpon space use and movement indicates that the Mississippi River Delta is a critical, yet understudied, part of their range.
Presenters Matthew Jargowsky
Mississippi State University & Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
Co-authors Marcus Drymon
Mississippi State University & Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
MD
Michael Dance
Louisiana State University
ML
Mitchell Lovell
Louisiana State University
Crystal Hightower
University Of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Amanda Jefferson
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium; Mississippi State University
AK
Andrea Kroetz
NOAA Fisheries
SP
Sean Powers
University Of South Alabama
Tag Alabama: Early Success in an Angler Based Saltwater Recreational Tagging ProgramView Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 02:15 PM - 02:30 PM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/01 20:15:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 20:30:00 UTC
Tag Alabama is a partnership between CCA Alabama, the University of South Alabama Department of Marine Sciences, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Tag Alabama gives CCA Members the opportunity to participate in angler-based Atlantic Tarpon, Red Drum, and Speckled Trout research in coastal Alabama and surrounding waterways. After attending a training workshop, each angler receives a tagging kit. The kit includes tags, a tag applicator, and instructions on tagging and data entry into an online database. The program began in 2018 and, in two years, has reached early success with more than 325 participating anglers and over 2,500 tagged fishes. Initially, we have learned about broad-scale spatial and temporal movements of these species in and around the bays and coastal waterways of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Eventually, we hope to determine life history parameters including fishery dependent size distributions and mortality estimates. Plans to expand the program include adding more species and increased involvement of participants through tournament style tagging events. This program promotes angler engagement in fisheries research and catch and release practices in our area while improving our knowledge on the status of these valuable sportfish in coastal Alabama.
Presenters Crystal Hightower
University Of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Co-authors
SP
Sean Powers
University Of South Alabama
Merritt McCall
University Of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
TN
T. Reid Nelson
UC Santa Cruz & NOAA Fisheries
The Role of Floodplain Forests in Supporting Fish Diversity: the Pascagoula River, MSView Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 02:30 PM - 02:45 PM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/01 20:30:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 20:45:00 UTC
Forested floodplains are a mosaic of periodically flooded aquatic habitats with variable levels of connectivity. While there is a clear link between riparian forests and freshwater organisms, floodplain forests are seldom investigated due to difficulties in sampling structurally complex and periodically inundated habitat. This lack of research has led to large knowledge gaps that hinder our understanding of the conservation value of these unique, complex systems for inland fisheries. Therefore, we aimed to determine how bottomland hardwood forests influence fish taxonomic and functional diversity. To accomplish this goal, we: (1) assessed species taxonomic diversity (i.e., species richness and composition) and functional diversity (i.e., standard length and body shape), and (2) quantified habitat complexity. Both objectives were completed along spatial and temporal scales in the Pascagoula River of Southern MS. We hypothesized that fish taxonomic and functional diversity are driven by forest complexity. Overall, A total of 51 fish species (1,487 individuals) were captured. Ordination analyses per hydrological period revealed consistently different assemblages in floodplain forest sites compared to river channel sites, yet, periodic connectivity facilitated longitudinal movement of fishes across the floodplain. Floodplain forests also contained a higher taxonomic diversity than the river channel. Additionally, no fish species were shared among all sites. Regression models showed that fish standard length was negatively affected by increased water surface temperature in the river channel. However, water surface temperature had no effect on fish standard length in the floodplain forest. Interestingly, the water surface temperature in floodplain forest sites was cooler than in river channel sites, even in the warmer parts of the year, which indicates that floodplain forests act as a thermal refugia for fish. These results emphasize the importance of floodplain forests to the conservation of inland fisheries in the face of current threats such as climate change, deforestation, and dams.
Presenters
CO
Conner Owens
Mississippi State University
Co-authors
WN
Wes Neal
Mississippi State University
SR
Scott Rush
Mississippi State University
SC
Sandra Bibiana Correa
Mississippi State University
Drift Algae Influence on Nekton Community Structure in Seagrass Beds of the Northern Gulf of MexicoView Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 02:45 PM - 03:00 PM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/01 20:45:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 21:00:00 UTC
Habitat complexity influences the abundance and distribution of faunal species and is an important driver of community structure in aquatic systems. Structured habitats increase the recruitment, survival, and growth of organisms, often by increasing resource availability, providing a predation refuge, and decreasing competition. Seagrass ecosystems are structurally complex habitats that play vital ecological and economic roles, including the provision of valuable nursery habitats and supporting the health of coastal communities. Drifting algae mats, often found adjacent to seagrass habitats, can also play a vital role in the maintenance of complex systems. As seagrass coverage in many areas shrink and fragment, algae could provide structural redundancy to maintain a functioning community. While algal mats have the potential to house more organisms because of their greater structural complexity, the types of organisms able to utilize this structure is less studied. We quantified how algal presence influenced the composition of nekton communities in seagrass beds throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico using trawls and benthic sleds. Pelagic fish declined when high concentrations of algae were present, while bottom-dwelling fish, shrimp, and crabs tended to remain unchanged or increased in abundance. Smaller organisms found within the algae, however, showed an overall increase in both the number of species and total number of individuals present across all relevant sampling locations as algae increased. Algal communities, while not as picturesque as seagrass or coral reef ecosystems, may offer an important refuge for some types of juvenile organisms as other complex habitats decline.
Presenters Kelly Correia
University Of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Co-authors Lee Smee
Dauphin Island Sea Lab/University Of South Alabama
Benjamin Belgrad
Dauphin Island Sea Lab
KD
Kelly Darnell
The University Of Southern Missisippi
M. Zachary Darnell
The University Of Southern Mississippi
CM
Charles Martin
Nature Coast Biological Station, University Of Florida
MH
Margaret Hall
Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission-Fish And Wildlife Research Institute
BF
Bradley Furman
Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission-Fish And Wildlife Research Institute
The effect of salinity on population demographics of the copepods Acartia tonsa and Parvocalanus crassirostrisView Abstract Watch Recording
Oral Presentation 03:00 PM - 03:15 PM (America/Chicago) 2020/12/01 21:00:00 UTC - 2020/12/31 21:15:00 UTC
Copepods are considered the best initial live food item for the feeding of many marine fish. However, the culture of copepods on a large scale has been problematic due to the high variability of productivity of cultures and the relatively low density that can be applied in culture. Understanding the impact that different environmental conditions have on copepod population demographics and production characteristics will facilitate the optimization of copepod culture methods. In this study, the commonly cultured calanoid copepods Acartia tonsa and Parvocalanus crassirostris were reared at four salinities (20, 25, 30, 35 ppt). Experiments were conducted in triplicate to assess the impact of culture salinity on sex ratio, egg production, egg hatching rate, and mortality post hatch. The temperature was maintained at 25C for A. tonsa and 27.5C for P. crassirostris, and live Tisochrysis lutea was fed twice daily to maintain food availability above estimated carbon saturation densities for the two species (1,500 g C L-1 for A. tonsa and 1,000 g C L-1 for P. crassirostris). For A. tonsa, the percentage of females varied significantly and inversely (p=0.025) with salinity. For P. crassirostris the percentage of females did not differ significantly among salinity treatments. Survival from initial stocking of early nauplii to the adult stage was not affected significantly by salinity in either species. For both species, daily egg production by individual females significantly decreased (p=< 0.001) over 7 days. The total fecundity over 7 days was significantly higher (p=0.02) at 30 ppt for A. tonsa; salinity had no effect on fecundity in P. crassirostris. Egg hatching rate was not impacted by salinity or age for either species. This study suggests that production by A. tonsa may be optimized at 30 ppt whereas the production by P. crassirostris is minimally impacted within the salinity range tested.
Presenters
AD
Adam Daw
The University Of Southern Mississippi
Co-authors
RB
Reginald Blaylock
The University Of Southern Mississippi
ES
Eric Saillant
The University Of Southern Mississippi
Mississippi State University & Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
University of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Mississippi State University
University of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
The University of Southern Mississippi
No moderator for this session!
The University of Southern Mississippi
 Lauren Still
Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Discovery Hall Program
 Sarah Ramsden
University of South Alabama/Dauphin Island Sea Lab
Dr. Marcus Drymon
Mississippi State University & Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant
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