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Publication Details

Spatial and temporal variability in the distribution and abundance of larval and juvenile fishes associated with pelagic Sargassum.

Author(s): Settle, Lawrence R.

NCCOS Center: CCFHR (http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/about/centers/ccfhr)

Center Team: NMFS

Name of Publisher: University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Place of Publication: Wilmington, North Carolina

Publication Type: Book

Date of Publication: 1993

Reference Information:

Extent of Work: 76

Keywords: CCFHR, Sargassum, Fisheries, Management

Abstract: A survey of the larval and juvenile fishes associated with the pelagic Sargassum habitat in the South Atlantic Bight and adjacent western Atlantic Ocean was conducted from July 1991 through March 1993. Fishes representing 104 taxonomic categories were identified, including reef fishes, coastal demersal, coastal pelagic, epipelagic and mesopelagic species. The most important families were Balistidae and Carangidae, each represented by 15 species. Species composition, species diversity and abundance varied both seasonally and regionally. Diversity was highest during spring through fall over the outer continental shelf and in the Gulf Stream. Abundance decreased from spring through winter and from the continental shelf into offshore waters. The numbers of fishes and fish biomass were found to be positively correlated with the wet weight of algae in most cases examined. The results of this study will be useful to fisheries managers assessing the potential impacts of commercial Sargassum harvesting in the region.

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