Title page for ETD etd-01162009-170305

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McDonough, Michael
URN etd-01162009-170305
Title Oil Platforms and Red Snapper Movement and Behavior
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Oceanography & Coastal Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cowan, James Howard Jr. Committee Chair
Benfield, Mark C. Committee Member
Rouse, Lawrence J. Jr. Committee Member
  • movement
  • oil platforms
  • red snapper
Date of Defense 2008-11-03
Availability unrestricted
Understanding the behavior, including movement, of red snapper (Lutjanus

campechanus), around and among the many oil and gas platforms in the northern Gulf of

Mexico (GOM) is crucial to the management of this important commercial and

recreational species. What role oil and gas production platforms play in the attraction vs.

production continuum for red snapper is unknown, but it is certain these large structures

have a role at some life history stage. We used the VRAP acoustic telemetry system to

track red snapper around two platforms in the GOM in 2005 and 2006. Fish detections

per hour generally decreased over the course of each experiment, and detections also

fluctuated with strong periodicity. Spectral analysis revealed that red snapper had a 24-

hour periodicity to their movements. Probability of presence of fish likewise fluctuated

within a day, perhaps indicating foraging away from the platforms. Red snapper in this

study showed much lower site fidelity than in previous studies of red snapper on artificial

reefs. These results appear to support the hypothesis that platforms function largely as

attracting devices.

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