Some environmental limits of six Gulf Coast estuarine organisms.
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Literature and data analyses of six sports and commercially important species occupying Gulf coast estuaries were made utilizing a computerized sorting technique. Data relating to catch versus environmental characteristics were collated from literature references and the data files of several state and federal laboratories. Catch ratios, reflecting catches above a threshold value, were computed and sorted into temperature, salinity, seasonal and location classes and into various interaction categories. Gross temperature, salinity, location and season ranges and optima were established for menhaden (Brevoortia patronus), sand trout (Cynoscion arenarius), blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus), white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus), pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum) and brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus). Analyses of interactions among the environmental variables verified several conclusions from single factor analyses, but also delineated many details of habitat, migration and estuarine utilization. The technique developed is considered to be capable of describing outside limits and providing management criteria for estuarine programs.