2022 photo contest round 2 Tunnel Fishion

Student in the Field: Tunnel Fishion

Photography by Clark Morgan, graduate student, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

An adult Atlantic goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) emerges from a cloud of round scad (Decapterus punctatus) during the seasonal spawning aggregation of goliath grouper in coastal Florida waters. Goliath grouper normally spawn during the night around new moons when the ocean is at its darkest, possibly as an adaptation to avoid egg predation by potential visual plankton feeding egg predators, like the swarming round scad. This picture was taken during an expedition focused on better understanding the contentious conservation conversations about goliath grouper fishery management between anglers and the ecotourism-based dive industry.