Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Assessment of the reproductive behavior and mating systems of southern flounder to improve captive propagation protocols

Sonograms and video frames of spotted seatrout exhibiting courtship and spawning behavior.


September 2012 - August 2014


The presence of complex mating systems in many broadcast-spawning marine fishes has ramifications to the conservation and management of these species. In particular, disturbances to spawning aggregations can greatly reduce the reproductive output of local spawning aggregations and change the quality of offspring produced. While these disturbances may be relatively inconsequential at normal population levels, their impact can be proportionally much greater at the reduced population levels representative of most marine fish stocks. Furthermore, a fundamental understanding of the basic biology and behavior is becoming increasingly relevant as resource agencies turn to captive propagation and stocking as viable management strategies for marine and estuarine species. In this study, we are using video and audio monitoring, along with genetic paternity assignment, to evaluate the mating systems of three species produced in hatcheries by Texas Parks and Wildlife: red drum Sciaenops ocellata, spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus, and southern flounder Paralichthys lethostigma. We are in the process of describing the reproductive behaviors and mating systems of these three species, with emphasis on the role of sound production in structuring the dominance hierarchies of red drum and spotted seatrout.

Research Products and Activities


  • Chen Q. 2014. Reproductive behavior and mating system of Spotted Seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. MS thesis. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.


  • Ogola B & TB Grabowski. 2012. Role of sound production in the mating system of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Texas Tech Undergraduate Research Conference, Lubbock, Texas. 16-20 April 2012.
  • Chen Q, B Ogola, & TB Grabowski. Mating system and reproductive behavior of southern flounder on the Texas Gulf Coas. 2013 Spring Meeting of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society. Nashville, Tennessee. 7-10 February 2013.
  • Chen Q, TB Grabowski, & R Vega. Relationship between acoustic behavior and egg production in Spotted Seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Texas Tech Annual Biological Sciences Symposium. Lubbock, Texas. 29 March 2014.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



  • Timothy GrabowskiPrincipal Investigator
  • Qingman ChenStudent
  • Celeste AlejandrezStudent


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey