Saving the Nassau Grouper - The Process

Last updated on Sun, 2014-04-20 02:25. Originally submitted by Jenny on 2011-06-17 15:12.

Nassau grouper

Modified by Jessica Haapkyla 2014-04-15

Your team will:

1.     Research the biology of Nassau groupers.

2.     Research the geographic distribution of Nassau groupers.

3.     Research the human uses of Nassau groupers.

4.     Research conservation methods for Nassau groupers.

5.     Develop a plan to study the effect of one conservation method.

6.     Create a presentation to secure funding for your study.

Divide the tasks 1 though 4 among your group members so that each person has one research task. Work together to complete tasks 5 and 6.


Task 1. The Biology of Nassau groupers 

Nassau groupers are between 2-4 feet long. They can live for more than 25 years (the maximum age recorded is 29 years). They are relatively sedentary fish and blend with the surrounding environment by changing color making it hard for their pray and predators to spot them. Nassau groupers eat mainly lobsters, crab, octopus and shrimp. Their main predators are barracudas, lizardfish and sharks. 

The Question: Why is the population of Nassau groupers so sensitive to current fishing practices?

Explore the spawning habits of Nassau groupers at the Bahamas National Trust’s website. Learn more about the biology of the Nassau grouper at Green Reef and Oceana web sites.


Task 2. Geographic Distribution of Nassau groupers

The Question: Where are Nassau groupers found? How does geography explain the occurrence of the species? What geography related factors have influenced the population of the Nassau grouper?

Create a map showing the geographic distribution of the Nassau grouper using the OBIS Portal. On the OBIS portal, select the "Search Data" tab and then select the "Click search and browse taxa". Enter the scientific name of the Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus."Click to search and browse datasets". When the database search is complete, select "Update map". Once the map appears, you may change its orientation by using the menu above the map. If you would like to save a map click on "Show results" then click on "Download" and "WMS", "Show Background", and "Save as image".


Task 3. Human uses of Nassau groupers 

The Nassau grouper reaches sexual maturity at about 9-10 years of age which means that often individuals are being fished before they have been able to reproduce. Like other species of grouper, the Nassau grouper aggregates in big schools at the same place each year when spawning which makes it easy for fishermen to catch them. The Nassau grouper is a commercially important species. 

The Question: What uses do humans have for Nassau groupers?

To learn more about human uses of the Nassau grouper visit the American Museum of Natural History’s website. Learn more about the economic importance of the Nassau grouper. Read about fishing methods that are used to catch Nassau groupers. How can these methods affect the population? Are there other factors that threaten the Nassau grouper population?


Task 4. Conservation of the Nassau grouper

The harvesting of the Nassau grouper is economically important to small-scale fisheries in the Caribbean. In order to prevent the decline of the Nassau grouper, it is important to adopt appropriate conservation methods.

The Question: What are some possible conservation methods to save the Nassau grouper?

Read about conservation methods for the Nassau grouper at the Bahamas National Trust. Learn more about plans to rebuild grouper populations in Belize at the Green Reef web site.


Task 5. The Plan

Since you are a team of research scientists, your plan will need the following parts:

1.     Research question- State the question that your research project will answer.

2.     Background information- Provide information that someone would need to know in order to understand your plan. Be sure to cite sources of information. This is the place to put information about Nassau grouper biology, geographic distribution, human uses of the Nassau grouper, and sustainable harvesting methods.

3.     Hypothesis- A statement that describes the expected outcome of your project.

4.     Materials- What you will need to conduct your research or implement your project and why these are essential.

5.     Procedure- List the steps you would take to conduct your research.

6.     Why your team thinks the plan will work- Link this to the survival and sustainability of the Nassau grouper populations. Show a cause and effect relationship.


Task 6. The Presentation

Now it's time to sell your plan. There's only so much money to go around. Will your presentation convince the foundation to fund your research? Your presentation should include all the elements of your team's plan. Use visual aids such as maps, pictures, charts, tables, and/or an outline of key points. The presentation may be done using a computer-based presentation program or overhead transparencies. Each person should be responsible for presenting at least one part of the plan.

·       The Introduction 

·       Conclusion 



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