The dusky grouper Epinephelus marginatus is a large-body fish species playing important ecological roles in rocky bottom ecosystems throughout its wide geographical distribution.
Dusky grouper populations across their range are declining due to overfishing and the species is currently classified as endangered by the IUCN.
This paper reviews studies conducted during the last few decades on this endangered species and identifies future research directions to fill current knowledge gaps.
This review identified extensive scientific studies on its feeding ecology, reproductive biology and age structure throughout its geographical distribution. However, the authors state that studies on habitat use and behaviour were generally restricted to the Mediterranean Sea, with fewer studies in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
The authors identified important questions that remain unanswered: 1. the specific sites and conditions where reproductive aggregations occur; 2. dispersion patterns of eggs and larvae and implications for connectivity; 3) habitat requirements throughout the life cycle of the species; 4) the current fishing effort employed worldwide; 5) the management options necessary to maintain viable populations.
The authors highlight the importance of establishing MPAs and MPAs networks, as well as other managing actions (e.g. fishing prohibitions during spawning aggregations), to help the conservation of this species throughout its geographical distribution.
Condinin MV, García-Charton JA, Garcia AM (2018) A review of the biology, ecology, behaviour and conservation status of the dusky grouper, Epinephelus marginatus (Lowe 1834). Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 28:301-330