Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program:
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources


Assessment of the reproductive behavior and mating systems of southern flounder to improve captive propagation protocols

September 2012 - August 2014


Participating Agencies

Sonograms and video frames of spotted seatrout exhibiting courtship and spawning behavior.

The presence of complex mating systems in many broadcast-spawning marine fishes has ramifications to the conservation and management of these species. In particular, disturbances to spawning aggregations can greatly reduce the reproductive output of local spawning aggregations and change the quality of offspring produced. While these disturbances may be relatively inconsequential at normal population levels, their impact can be proportionally much greater at the reduced population levels representative of most marine fish stocks. Furthermore, a fundamental understanding of the basic biology and behavior is becoming increasingly relevant as resource agencies turn to captive propagation and stocking as viable management strategies for marine and estuarine species. In this study, we are using video and audio monitoring, along with genetic paternity assignment, to evaluate the mating systems of three species produced in hatcheries by Texas Parks and Wildlife: red drum Sciaenops ocellata, spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus, and southern flounder Paralichthys lethostigma. We are in the process of describing the reproductive behaviors and mating systems of these three species, with emphasis on the role of sound production in structuring the dominance hierarchies of red drum and spotted seatrout.

Presentations Presentation Date
Chen Q, B Ogola, & TB Grabowski. Mating system and reproductive behavior of southern flounder on the Texas Gulf Coas. 2013 Spring Meeting of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society. Nashville, Tennessee. 7-10 February 2013. February 2013
Ogola B & TB Grabowski. 2012. Role of sound production in the mating system of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Texas Tech Undergraduate Research Conference, Lubbock, Texas. 16-20 April 2012. April 2012
Grabowski TB, Q Chen, B Ogola, & R Vega. Characterization of the function of different call types in the acoustic repertoire of spawning Spotted Seatrout. 2015 Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. 15-17 January 2015. January 2015
Chen Q, TB Grabowski, & R Vega. Relationship between acoustic behavior and egg production in Spotted Seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Texas Tech Annual Biological Sciences Symposium. Lubbock, Texas. 29 March 2014. March 2014
Grabowski TB, Q Chen, B Ogola, & R Vega. Characterization of the function of different call types in the acoustic repertoire of spawning Spotted Seatrout. Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society Spring Meeting 2015. Savannah, GA. 29 January-01 February 2015. January 2015
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Chen Q. 2014. Reproductive behavior and mating system of Spotted Seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. MS thesis. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. December 2014