Coming in at about 10 cm, three of our artificial reefs in Eastern Shores have some new tenants! In this photo, you can see two very young Nassau groupers as well as a new species for my reefs, a Red Hind grouper (hidden between the blocks). Nassau grouper are known to shift from macroalgae habitats (e.g., Laurencia) to patch reef habitats right around 11-17 cm (Eggleston 1995), but I feel honored that these youngsters feel as though my artificial reefs are up to par for a new home. Throughout the next year, I will continue taking fish surveys and monitoring all fish species present and noting individual fish sizes.
This week, Hannah and I have decided to take a few extra fish surveys to record the arrival of any other juvenile grouper and what type of reef they have settled on (structurally complex or degraded, as well as with or without sub-adult Nassau grouper).