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Seasonal and sex differences in energy reserves of red snapper Lutjanus campechanus on natural and artificial reefs in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico

Abstract

To evaluate the energetic condition of red snapper inhabiting natural and artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, the liver-somatic index (LSI) and muscle tissue caloric density (CD) were measured for fish collected between September 2011 and October 2013. Liver energy reserves were highest in spring and decreased during summer, with greater LSI values at natural reefs in spring. While female red snapper LSI was greater than males at the natural reefs, indicating a larger energetic investment for spawning, it did not differ between males and females at the artificial reefs. Females at natural reefs have the ability to invest more energy in reproduction than females at artificial reefs, which is reflected in larger female LSI values at the natural reefs. Caloric density was highest in winter and decreased through fall at the natural reefs, with the opposite trend observed at artificial reefs. Muscle energy reserves are likely utilized for gonad development, while stored liver energy is utilized during and after spawning. Female red snapper at natural reefs can exhibit greater energy reserves, and thus a higher energetic condition than females at artificial reefs. Recognizing that energetic condition differs between habitats could enhance future red snapper stock assessments.

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Acknowledgments

This project was funded by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. We would like to thank Dr. Brian D. Marx for help with statistical analyses, the captain and crew of the M/V Blazing 7, Dr. Todd Langland, Hilary Glenn, Marshall Kormanec, and Dave Nieland for help with collection of red snapper, and Jackie McCool, Mary Youpel, and Joey Heintz for help with calorimetry sample preparation. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviews for providing comments that helped improve this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Brittany D. Schwartzkopf.

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Schwartzkopf, B.D., Cowan, J.H. Seasonal and sex differences in energy reserves of red snapper Lutjanus campechanus on natural and artificial reefs in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Fish Sci 83, 13–22 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12562-016-1037-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12562-016-1037-1

Keywords

  • Condition
  • Caloric density
  • Habitat quality
  • Liver-somatic index
  • Lutjanus campechanus
  • Temporal energy changes