Ichthyofaunal community structure at a coal combustion by-product reef and natural oyster reef in Galveston Bay, Texas




Christensen, John D.

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Texas A&M University


From February 1993 to March 1994, the differences in fish community structure at a coal combustion by-product artificial reef and a natural reef in Galveston Bay were studied. This study was based on a fisheries-independent sampling effort using experimental gill nets and a fisheries-dependent creel survey. Early comparisons revealed higher nekton yields at the natural reef sites. Therefore, the artificial reef was less attractive than a level bottom site and far less attractive than a natural site. However, a persistent measure of community growth was observed over the duration of the study. The artificial reef site community structure was influenced by density-dependent and density-independent processes. Within seasons, the supply of a food source was the most important factor influencing the reef's community structure.


113 pgs.


fish, artificial reefs, oyster reefs, nekton, coal combustion byproduct (CCB), American oyster (Crassostrea virginica), mud crab (Xanthidae), gobies (Gobiidae), fisheries, estuarine ecology, oyster culture