Black Bass Ecology

Black bass on grid

Basic information such as growth rates is lacking for this species.

Black Bass (Lutjanus goldiei) are renowned as one of the toughest fighting sport fish in the world, yet virtually nothing is known scientifically about these fish.

We don’t know how long they live, how fast they grow, when and where they spawn, how much they move within and between river systems, what habitats they use during each stage of their life-cycle, or what prey and food webs are important in supporting these fish throughout their lives.

Understanding these elements of the ecology of any fish species is essential for sustainable management of the fish, the fisheries they support, and the environment they rely on. The ecology component of this project will answer these critical questions using a suite of cutting-edge technologies. Our research goals can be be summarised in the following four areas:

Juvenile Black Bass Habitats: We will map habitats with side-scan sonar, and survey which fish and life stages occupy different habitats using underwater video.



A crab in the hand

Diet and Food Web: Gut content analysis reveals what an individual has recently eaten, while Stable Isotope Analysis highlights pathways of energy flow from primary producers through to top predators.


LoggerAcoustic Fish Tracking: Acoustic tags are surgically implanted into fish. The fish can then be tracked during daily and seasonal movements.



Black Bass Otolith

Life-Cycle Movements: The ear bones or otoliths of every fish hold a permanent record of the environment the fish has lived in throughout its life.




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