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By Ryan Mckenzie, FSUCML Graduate Student
Recently captured fertilized egg of Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata) under a microscope

Recently captured fertilized egg of Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata) under a microscope

Holy Mackerel! Well, I guess Black Sea Bass (Centropristis striata) in this case. In the late afternoon hours on Tuesday, I observed some fishy behavior occurring in my Black Sea Bass observation tanks at the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory. This morning while checking my tanks, I discovered fertilized eggs floating on the surface of the water. This is great news for my current research into the reproductive ecology of the Black Sea Bass in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico. For my research, I am looking into many aspects of reproductive ecology of the Black Sea Bass including the seasonal dynamics of reef populations and individual reproductive behavior. Now with some more luck, I will be able to directly observe and describe their spawning behavior at the FSUCML. Along with other data collected from field surveys, I will use these observations to determine when spawning occurs and if it is related to environmental factors correlated to spawning activity in other reef fishes such as moon cycle, time of day, and water temperature. Was this spawning event related to the recent full moon? Does spawning always happen in the afternoon? These are some of the questions I hope to answer during these behavioral trials in the next few months here at the FSUCML.