Behavioral Ecology of Sympatric Barracuda SpeciesEPA Grant Number: U914945
Title: Behavioral Ecology of Sympatric Barracuda Species
Investigators: Patterson, Shane E.
Institution: University of Georgia
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 1996 through June 27, 2002
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1996) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Marine Biology , Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences
The objective of this research project is to examine fragmentation and coalescence of aggregations of barracuda species (family Sphyraenidae) in Papua New Guinea, focusing on habitat availability and utilization, and on possible size-related social continuum, heterospecific schooling, and lower site fidelity that is found in specimens from the western Atlantic.
The primary focus of this research project will be on behavioral observations of barracuda, and will employ Earthwatch volunteers as field assistants. Behavioral data will be based largely on use of the "focal animal" and "scan" techniques as well as timed swims (techniques that have been used in previous barracuda research in the Turks and Caicos Islands and Florida Keys). Groups and individuals of barracuda will be observed, and the degree of group cohesion and persistence will be noted. Solitary barracuda will be observed repeatedly to obtain data on site attachment and territoriality. Habitat surveys will allow "focal point" analysis of habitat utilization. Lengthy snorkel observations also will be made at certain sites from early morning to dusk to determine if and when large groups of barracuda fragment and reform.