Danielle Morley

Doctoral Intern, Environmental Conservation


Advisor: Andy Danylchuk

Dynamics of multiple harems of hogfish over several breeding seasons

Hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus) are a commercially and recreationally important reef fish species that form harems for reproduction. Additionally, they are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they begin their lives as female and then can change into a male. However, much is still left to learn about their reproductive behavior. For example, we do not know if the harems only form during breeding season or if the males defend a territory all year long. We also do not know what happens to a female’s reproductive output if a male is removed from the harem. Using a gridded array of underwater acoustic receivers, we will track the dynamics of multiple harems of hogfish over several breeding seasons. With recent management changes increasing the minimum size limit for hogfish harvest, new regulations may result in more males being removed from the population. Being able to understand how this can affect the reproductive output of a hogfish harem will help inform policy makers of the best management strategy for this species.


  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
  • Florida Keys


Keller JA, Herbig JL, Morley D, Wile A, Barbera P, Acosta A. 2020. Grouper tales: Use of acoustic telemetry to evaluate essential fish habitat in the Florida Keys. Marine and Coastal Fisheries. In Press https://doi.org/10.1002/mcf2.10109

Brownscombe JW, Griffin LP, Morley D, Acosta A, Hunt H, Lowerre-Barbieri SK, Crossin GT, Iverson SJ, Boucek R, Adams AJ, Cooke SJ, Danylchuk AJ. 2020. Seasonal occupancy and connectivity amongst nearshore flats and reef habitats by permit Trachinotus falcatus: considerations for fisheries management. Journal of Fish Biology 96:469-479. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.14227

Young JM, Bowers ME, Reyier EA, Morley D, Ault ER, Pye JD, Gallagher RM, Ellis RD. 2020. The FACT network: philosophy, evolution, and management of a collaborative coastal tracking network. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 11:1-14. https://doi.org/10.1002/mcf2.10100

Brownscombe JW, Griffin LP, Chapman JM, Morley D, Acosta A, Hunt J, Crossin GT, Iverson SJ, Adams AJ, Cooke SJ, Danylchuk AJ. 2020. A practical method to account for the variation in detection range in acoustic telemetry arrays to accurately quantify the spatial ecology of aquatic animals. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 11:82-94. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041- 210X.13322

Boucek RE and Morley D. 2019. Demonstrating the value of cross-ecosystem syntheses and comparisons in animal movement and acoustic telemetry research. Fisheries Research 216: 74-78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2019.03.019

Brownscombe JW, Adams AJ, Young N, Griffin LP, Holder P, Hunt J, Acosta A, Morley D, Boucek R, Cooke SJ, Danylchuk AJ. 2019. Bridging the knowledge-action gap: A case of research rapidly impacting recreational fisheries policy. Marine Policy 104:210-215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.02.021

Herbig J, Keller J, Morley D, Walter K, Acosta A, Barbera P. 2019. Examining movement patterns of yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus, in the Dry Tortugas, Florida.  Bulletin of Marine Science 95(1):45-67. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2018.0003

Feeley MW, Morley D, Acosta A, Barbera P, Hunt J, Switzer T, Burton M. 2018.  Spawning migration movements of mutton snapper in Tortugas, Florida: Spatial dynamics within a marine reserve network.  Fisheries Research 204:209-223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2018.02.020

Pratt HL, Pratt TC, Morley D, Lowerre-Barbieri S, Collins A, Carrier JC, Hart KM, Whitney NM. 2018. Partial migration of the nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum, (Bonnaterre), from the Dry Tortugas Islands.  Environmental Biology of Fish 101:515-530. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-017-0711-1.

Hart KM, AR Sartain, Fujisaki I, Pratt HL, Morley D, Feeley MW. 2012.  Home range, habitat-use, and migrations of hawksbill turtles tracked form Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida, USA.  Marine Ecological Progress Series 457: 193-207.  https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09744.