Home > NOAA Internships > Examine Condition of Larval Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) in the northern Gulf of Mexico
Internship Opportunity

Examine Condition of Larval Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) in the northern Gulf of Mexico

Posted on: 01/09/2018
Research Area(s): Internships / General

Summary / Description

Red Snapper (Lutjnaus campechanus) is a reef-associated fish that is harvested, both commercially and recreationally, in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Overexploitation has required the formation of management plans in order to rebuild the declining stocks. Part of the management plan is to collect data in order to monitor the stock size and determine fishing limits. The role of the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) is to provide fishery-independent data to the fisheries managers for inclusion in stock assessment models. SEAMAP ichthyoplankton surveys provide information on the early life history of Red Snapper in the northern GOM. The abundance data collected provides a relative larval index of abundance for each year. Interannual variability in larval Red Snapper abundances can be caused by factors affecting growth and mortality. Measuring larval condition will provide insight into the interannual changes in abundance. The overall goal of the project is to measure the larval condition of red snapper (Lutjanus campechnaus) through morphometric analysis. All identified red snapper collected in the bongo and neuston samples during SEAMAP surveys from recent years will be processed for morphometric analysis using an imaging system. Specimens will be placed under the stereo microscope and a digital image will be taken at a magnification that will allow accurate morphometric measurements to be made of the larvae. The morphometric measurements selected represent body dimensions that have been found to relate to relative larval body conditions. A measurement of notochord length, body depth at the pectoral fin, body depth at anus, head length, head height, eye diameter, and lower jaw length will be made of each larva using the imaging software. A correlation will be calculated between the notochord length and each of the other body measurements separately. The morphometric measurements of each fish will be combined in order to provide an overall condition index for each of the larvae. Comparisons between seasons and years will be made to examine possible environmental factors influencing larval condition.

Skills Required

Willingness to work outdoors, as well as at a microscope. General laboratory skills are helpful. Ability to work as part of a research team. Ability to pay attention to details, yet have an interest in broad scale ecological processes.

Location

NOAA Mississippi Laboratory/Pascagoula, MS

Other Information

Intern Supervisor:
Andre DeBose
Number of Slots Available:
1
Is free housing available:
No
Can international students be placed:
Yes

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