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

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.

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