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Movements and depth/temperature distribution of the ectothermic Scombrid, Acanthocybium solandri (wahoo), in the western North Atlantic

Abstract

Pop-up satellite archival tags were deployed onto four wahoo during 2006 in the western North Atlantic (~26.5°N, 79.3°W), providing movement, depth, and temperature data collected over a total of 198 days. Straight-line distances between tag deployment and pop-off positions ranged from 162.5 to 1,960.0 km. Wahoo spent >90 % of their time in water <200 m, and >90 % of their time in water between 17.5 and 27.5 °C. Three fish made regular trips to depths >200 m. All four fish had significantly different depth distributions between the dark and light periods (Kruskal–Wallace test, p < 0.001). The median mean depth for all fish combined was 29.7 m during the dark period (Q1 = 18.8 m, Q3 = 46.2 m) and 50.7 m during the light period (Q1 = 22.3 m, Q3 = 112.3 m). This research improves an otherwise poor understanding of wahoo movements and depth/temperature distributions and suggests potential interactions with other members of the pelagic fish community, many of which are commercially important and either fully or over-exploited.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Brian Mealey of the Institute of Wildlife Sciences for providing the funding necessary to acquire the PSAT tags. We wish to also thank Doug Dunlap (owner/captain) and the crew of the “Cloud Nine,” whose contribution of boat and related expenses, along with expertise in locating and capturing wahoo, were invaluable to the success of this project. We would like to also thank Derke Snodgrass of the National Marine Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center Cooperative Tagging Program for help in developing a tag deployment protocol for wahoo, and John McDonald for his advice on statistical analyses. Lastly, we wish to thank Raul Miranda and the members of the Bahamas Wahoo Championship tournament committee, whose friendship and support made this project possible. Additional funding was provided by the National Marine Fishery Service’s MARFIN Project.

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Correspondence to Tim C. Theisen.

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Communicated by U. Sommer.

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Theisen, T.C., Baldwin, J.D. Movements and depth/temperature distribution of the ectothermic Scombrid, Acanthocybium solandri (wahoo), in the western North Atlantic. Mar Biol 159, 2249–2258 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-012-2010-x

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Keywords

  • Dark Period
  • Light Period
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Pelagic Species
  • National Marine Fishery Service