In the last few weeks, ORCA researcher Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres has encountered some old friends - goliath groupers she's been tracking for a year in the vicinity of the Zion wrecks, off Jupiter, FL. During the goliath grouper breeding season of 2010, she identified three individual groupers with unique markings.
Scarface has a series of scars over his
head and upper part of the body.
was identified as a male, as he
displayed the courtship behavior unique to males.
Sharkbite has a piece of the gill cover missing, as if a shark took a bite of it, and was identified as a male, because he
displayed the dark colors expected in males during courtship behavior.
Follow Sarah Frias-Torres' Goliath Grouper Research
Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres
is a broadly trained, fieldwork oriented marine ecologist and biological oceanographer.
research interests include: (1) Effects of global climate change in tropical marine ecosystems, (2) Coral reef and mangrove ecosystem resilience, (3) Behavioral ecology and conservation biology of marine megafauna, (4) Life histories, reproduction and parental care in fishes, (5) Marine biodiversity and, (6) Development of novel low cost high-tech ocean sensors.
is committed in making her
research available to the general public through science outreach, such us writing magazine or newspaper articles and documentary filmmaking.
She is currently an adjunct researcher at Ocean Research & Conservation Association, Fort Pierce, Florida, USA.
Goliath Grouper Moratorium Continues
Ongoing work from ORCA researcher Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres was critical in securing
an extension of the moratorium on goliath grouper harvest at a recent Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting.
On February 23, 2011, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
decided to extend the 1990 moratorium on goliath grouper harvesting based on the scientific evidence that the species has not yet recovered from the commercial extinction event of the late 1980s.
The Commissioners were not explicit on extending a blanket moratorium all the way through 2015 as the Fishery Management Councils
(Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic) had already recommended after their own independent assessments.
Instead, the commissioners asked to receive yearly updates on how ongoing research projects are answering the information gaps on this species.
At the meeting, the scientific evidence presented by ORCA researcher Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres on goliath grouper life history, juvenile mangrove habitat use and behavior of grouper spawning aggregations along with research by other scientists was critical in securing the decision.