Recruitment patterns, growth, and predation of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) in various Galveston Bay habitats


1999 1999 Mar 25


Stunz GW
Minello T
Levin P

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Seagrass beds are essential nursery habitats for many estuarine fishes, yet seagrass-dependent fishes may utilize different habitats when seagrass is absent. We examined patterns of habitat use by red drum in Galveston Bay, Texas, to determine how the absence of seagrass affects recruitment of a species known to use seagrass as nursery habitat. Surveys using an epibenthic sled and an enclosure sampler were taken from three potential nursery habitats: marsh edge, seagrass, and unvegetated bottom. Highest densities of red drum were observed in areas of seagrass. In areas absent of seagrass, the highest densities occurred along the marsh edge interface. Mesocosm experiments of habitat selection among marsh, oyster, seagrass, and unvegetated sand/mud showed distinct selection for highly structured habitats such as oyster reef, and the presence of a predator in a particular habitat could influence this habitat selection. Using field enclosures, differential growth rates were observed among various estuarine habitats. Growth rates were greatest in seagrass followed by marsh, unvegetated bottom, and oyster, respectively. Differences in both habitat availability and habitat preference associated with differential growth rates among habitats, suggest that marsh edge as opposed to seagrass beds could be functioning as essential recruitment habitat for red drum in Galveston Bay




ASW,USA,Texas,Galveston Bay, Fisheries, Fishery resources, Galveston Bay, growth, growth curves, growth rate, habitat, Habitat selection, habitats, Nursery grounds, O 1050 Vertebrates,Urochordates and Cephalochordates, O 1070 Ecology/Community Studies, population dynamics, Predation, Q1 01344 Reproduction and development, Q1 01423 Behaviour, recruitment, Red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, sea grass, Seagrasses, Texas, USA