Assessment of habitat quality for juvenile California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) in a seasonally arid estuary

López-Rasgado, Francisco Javier and Herzka, Sharon Z. (2009) Assessment of habitat quality for juvenile California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) in a seasonally arid estuary. Fishery Bulletin, 107(3), pp. 343-358.

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Official URL: http://fishbull.noaa.gov/1073/lopez.pdf

Abstract

We evaluated habitat quality for juvenile California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) in a Pacific Coast estuary lacking in strong salinity gradients by examining density, recent otolith growth rates, and gut fullness levels of wild-caught and caged juveniles for one year. Juveniles <200 mm standard length were caught consistently in the inner, central, and outer sections of the estuary. The density of juveniles was two times higher in the inner estuary during most of the year, consistent with active habitat selection by part of the population. A generalized linear model indicated temperature, sampling time, and the interaction between salinity and temperature were significantly related to density. However, the model explained only 21% of the variance. Gut fullness levels of wild-caught juveniles were highest during the summer, but recent otolith growth rates were not related to temperature. The proportion of individuals feeding successfully indicated that seasonal differences in food availability are more important than spatial variation in prey abundance in driving feeding success. Feeding success of caged fishes was limited, precluding the use of growth rates as indicators of local habitat quality. However, marginal increment widths were reliable indicators of somatic growth at low growth rates over two-week periods. The relatively high growth rates and abundance of small wild-caught juveniles found throughout the estuary indicates that the entire estuary system has the potential for serving as nursery habitat.

Item Type: Article
Title: Assessment of habitat quality for juvenile California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) in a seasonally arid estuary
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
López-Rasgado, Francisco Javier
Herzka, Sharon Z.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Fishery Bulletin
Volume: 107
Number: 3
Page Range: pp. 343-358
Date: 2009
ISSN: 0090-0656
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Ecology
Fisheries
Item ID: 8791
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2012 18:31
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 18:31
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/8791

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