Scientific Publication

Settlement, movement and early juvenile mortality of the yellowtail snapper Ocyurus chrysurus


The yellowtail snapper Ocyurus chrysurus is one of the most important and heavily targeted reef fishery species in the Caribbean. In this study, we investigate the first month of post-settlement life in shallow seagrass nursery areas with underwater visual census techniques. We separate early juvenile mortality from movement by answering the following specific questions: (1) Are settlement-stage O. chrysurus resident in seagrass? (2) Do early juveniles maintain a home range and, if so, how does home range vary with fish size? (3) Is such a range stable? Using a simple model to explain changes in mortality over time, we provide the first experimentally derived estimates of natural mortality at settlement for this species and thus generate a natural mortality baseline against which to compare survival in short-term rearing systems, and the likely success of release programs