Dr. Felicia Coleman of Florida State University recently discovered that red grouper help enhance biodiversity by creating and maintaining structural habitat for other marine life.
Although much of the Gulf bottom is relatively featureless, “solution holes” exist that formed thousands of years ago when sea level was lower, and freshwater dissolved holes in the limestone surface. When sea level rose to its present state, these solution holes filled with sediment. Red grouper are commonly associated with these limestone solution holes, but scientists were never able to demonstrate they actually helped create and maintain them.
The study entitled, “Benthic Habitat Modification through Excavation by Red Grouper, Epinephelus morio, in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico,” is published in The Open Fish Science Journal.