Alternate Title

Effects of a Severe Cold Event on the Subtropical, Estuarine-Dependent Common Snook, Centropomus undecimalis

Document Type



The effects of infrequent disturbance events on marine fishes are often difficult to determine, due largely to lack of sufficient pre- and post-disturbance event data. In January 2010, subtropical southwestern Florida (USA) experienced extreme cold for 13 days, which caused extensive mortality of many fish species. The effect of this severe cold event on common snook (Centropomus undecimalis), an economically important gamefish, was assessed using three years (2007-2009) of pre-event and one year (2010) of post-event data from a tag-recapture program conducted over 28 km of Gulf of Mexico barrier islands of Florida. All metrics pointed to a significant effect of the severe cold event: post-disturbance apparent survival of marked fish was 96-97% lower than pre-disturbance, and post-disturbance common snook abundance was 75.57% and 41.88% less than in 2008 and 2009, the two years immediately pre-event. Although severe cold events have impacted subtropical Florida in the past, these events are infrequent (the previous recorded event was >30 years prior), and documentation of the impacts on common snook have not previously been published.

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