Alternate Title

Hypothermal Mortality in Marine Fishes of South-Central Florida, January, 1977


Comparable climatic conditions on both coasts of central Florida resulted in cold induced fish mortalities from 19 January to 13 February 1977. Lethal temperatures, the species killed and their relative numbers killed are compared for the Indian River lagoon, Tampa Bay and Sanibel Island estuarine systems. Fifty-six species were killed in the Indian River area, 36 in the Tampa Bay area, while 19 died at Sanibel Island. The higher species mortality in the Indian River lagoon may be attributed to local hydrological and topographical conditions-and a richer ichthyofauna. Cold-induced mortality was noted in both juvenile and adult tropical fishes. Some tropical species appear to be more eurythermic than others as lethal minimum temperatures ranged from 6 to 13 C. Hypothermal stress and mortality were observed in offshore reef fishes.