Dr. Tim Targett
Size: Up to 3 feet (91 cm) long and 26 pounds (12 kg).
Range: Nova Scotia to Florida.
The summer flounder is a saltwater fish that ranges from Nova Scotia to Florida, but it is most abundant in waters from Massachusetts to North Carolina.
The summer flounder feeds on fish and shrimp. The species may reach a maximum size of 3 feet long and 26 pounds. It is called a "left-sided" flatfish because both of its eyes are on the left side of its head.
This fish rests on the sea bottom, using color adaptation to blend in with its surroundings. It also may partially bury itself in the bottom sand and sediments for camouflage.
To learn about preparing flounder for the dinner table, check out "Flounder" in our Finfish Facts.
Faculty Research: Dr. Tim Targett
The estuaries along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts provide nursery grounds for numerous fishes. Knowing what environmental conditions help young fish grow best can help resource managers getter define and protect critical fish habitat.
"When fish are this young they're extremely vulnerable to predators," says Tim Targett, a fisheries scientists here at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment , as he nets the 2-inch flounder swimming in the tank in from of him. "We're trying to determine what nursery conditions will help young flounder grow fastest, increasing their odds of survival."
Targett has conducted experiments to reveal the optimum temperature and salinity conditions for young summer and southern flounder. He's also examining the effect of turbidity, or water clarity, on the fish, as well as chronic low oxygen levels. When his research is complete, it will help resource managers define the habitat vital to the early life stages of these important East Coast fisheries.