Master of Science (MS)


Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Document Type



This study compares the reproductive potential of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) at artificial and natural habitats. Natural habitats are areas of vertical relief created from biogenic/geologic processes that are thought to be the historical centers of abundance for red snapper in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Red snapper were collected from 2011 to 2013 at three natural habitat sites and two artificial habitat oil and gas platform sites. The mean gonadosomatic indices (GSI), maturity at size and age, spawning indicators, batch fecundity, spawning frequency, and annual fecundity for red snapper at each habitat were analyzed to examine reproductive potential among sites and habitats. Results indicate red snapper on natural habitats exhibited higher mean GSI than those on artificial habitats during peak spawning season. Female red snapper on natural habitats showed 98% maturity, compared to 52% maturity of females on artificial habitats. These data support previous observation of demographic differences in red snapper reproduction between natural and artificial habitats. The differences observed may be due to red snapper at natural habitats being in better nutritional condition than red snapper on artificial habitats, thus allowing red snapper on natural habitats to invest more energy in reproduction and less energy towards rapid growth early in life.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cowan, James H., Jr.