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Gardening Groupers...

Once again, commentary sparked by Science Daily... Besides, these fish are cool.

Red Grouper to Be 'Frank Lloyd Wrights of the Sea'

ScienceDaily (Jan. 21, 2010) — To the casual observer in the Gulf of Mexico, the seemingly sluggish red grouper is more of a couch potato than a busy beaver. But a new study led by researchers at The Florida State University reveals the fish to be both architect and ecosystem engineer.

Most abundant along Florida's west coast but also found on watery ledges and in crevices and caverns from North Carolina to Brazil, the red grouper excavates and maintains complex, three-dimensional structures that provide critical habitats for the spiny lobster and many other commercially important species in the Gulf of Mexico. The researchers watched it work hard to remove sand from the sea floor, exposing hard rocks crucial to corals and sponges and the animals they shelter.

(see link for rest of article)

Apparently adults may clear out and maintain a space about five meters across and several meters deep where everything from coral to spiny lobsters and various fish (including juvenile vermilion snappers) live, and if they get over-fished, a whole lot of fisheries also go down the tubes. Wonder what the rest of the groupers are up to?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC)
Fascinating article. Thanks for sharing!
Jan. 28th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
What was once thought of as a lazy unimportant fish to be caught, fileted, seasoned, and served as fake crab is really a citybuilder! Cool!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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