We inventoried fishes associated with three hardbottom reef tracts that are separated by sand and run parallel to the coast in sequentially deeper water offshore Broward County, Florida. Using SCUBA and the Bohnsack-Bannerot visual point count method, we recorded fish abundance, species richness, sizes (TL), and general habitat characteristics within an imaginary 15m cylinder extending from the substrate to the surface. Sites were sampled along transects at quarter nautical mile intervals along 18 nautical miles of coastline at western and eastern edges, and crest of each of the three reef tracts.
A total of 86,463 fishes belonging to 208 species and 52 families was censused from 667 sites over four years (August 1998 to November 2002). Mean species richness, mean total abundance and mean total biomass of fishes increased significantly on each reef tract moving offshore (p
Differences were found within reef tracts based on edge or crest sites and position along reefs north or south of Port Everglades and Hillsboro Inlet. Sites within 5 na. mi. south of Port Everglades had lower total abundance and species richness (p
Of management interest, was a scarcity or absence of groupers and snappers observed over four years. Although juvenile red grouper were frequently seen (n = 232 at 667 sites), only two were above legal minimum size. No goliath or black grouper were recorded. A total of 10 gag, yellowfin, or scamp grouper was observed; none were legal. Among six snapper species, 219 of 718 were of legal size.
NOAA Technical Memorandum
Fleur, F., L.K.B. Jordan, and R.E. Spieler. 2005. The marine fishes of Broward county, Florida: Final Report of 1998-2002 Survey Results. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-532. 73 p.