Habitat-based species distribution modelling of the Hawaiian deepwater snapper-grouper complex

Zack S. Oyafuso, Jeffrey C. Drazen, Cordelia H. Moore, Erik C. Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Deepwater snappers and groupers are valuable components of many subtropical and tropical fisheries globally and understanding the habitat associations of these species is important for spatial fisheries management. Habitat-based species distribution models were developed for the deepwater snapper-grouper complex in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). Six eteline snappers (Pristipomoides spp., Aphareus rutilans, and Etelis spp.) and one endemic grouper (Hyporthodus quernus) comprise the species complex known as the Hawaiian Deep Seven Bottomfishes. Species occurrence was recorded using baited remote underwater video stations deployed between 30 and 365 m (n = 2381) and was modeled with 12 geomorphological covariates using GLMs, GAMs, and BRTs. Depth was the most important predictor across species, along with ridge-like features, rugosity, and slope. In particular, ridge-like features were important habitat predictors for E. coruscans and P. filamentosus. Bottom hardness was an important predictor especially for the two Etelis species. Along with depth, rugosity and slope were the most important habitat predictors for A. rutilans and P. zonatus, respectively. Models built using GAMs and BRTs generally had the highest predictive performance. Finally, using the BRT model output, we created species-specific distribution maps and demonstrated that areas with high predicted probabilities of occurrence were positively related to fishery catch rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalFisheries Research
Early online date3 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

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