Project Details

Use of a Bio-physical Modeling Framework to Develop a Recruitment Index for Inclusion in Stock Assessments in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic

Sponsor: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southeast Fisheries Science Center

NOAA logo


National Marine Fishery Service’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center: Mandy Karnauskas, Todd Kellison, Kyle Shertzer
University of Miami: Claire B. Paris
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Susan Lowerre-Barbieri
NC State University: David Eggleston, Austin C. Todd
North Carolina Sea Grant

Funding Period

May 2015 – April 2016


The goal of this project is to use a combination of recently-developed hydrodynamic ocean and biophysical modeling approaches to simulate recruitment events of red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, in the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. South Atlantic regions. We combine an individual-based larval transport model (Connectivity Modeling System (CMS); Paris et al. 2013) with an oceanographic hindcast model (Regional Ocean Modeling System; Shchepetkin and McWilliams 2005), to understand sources and sinks of recruits in the region, and to develop indices of recruitment strength. This work builds on a previous approach by Karnauskas et al. (2013), where a recruitment index was developed and used in a stock assessment model. From this previous work, three key improvements will be made here: 1) use of an alternative oceanographic model that better resolves coastal processes in time and space, 2) inclusion of a detailed biological data set identifying red snapper spawning sites, and 3) inclusion of an additional module in the larval transport model which allow a more realistic representation of diffusion processes. This combined effort will lead to the development of a powerful recruitment forecasting tool for the southeastern U.S. Funding this project also represents a future investment for other stocks, because the model improvements envisioned here would serve as a blueprint for application to other species in the region.