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Seasonal changes in fish communities in near-shore habitats in Santa Rosa Sound, FL.

SEASONAL CHANGES IN FISH COMMUNITIES IN NEAR-SHORE HABITATS IN SANTA ROSA SOUND, FL. HANNAH R. SHIRLEY AND JOHN N. MCCALL, DEPT. OF BIOL. & ENV. SCIENCES, UNIV. OF WEST ALABAMA, LIVINGSTON, AL 35470

Seagrass meadows and other near-shore habitats in coastal lagoons play an important role in the early life history of many marine and estuarine fish. Such habitats are typically utilized as nursery grounds, providing rich food resources as well as protection from predators. Widely studied in a number of locations, these near-shore habitats have not been examined extensively in Santa Rosa Sound, a coastal lagoon in the Florida panhandle. In this work, we describe the results of a year-long study examining the fish assemblages utilizing near-shore seagrass meadows in Santa Rosa Sound. We collected monthly seine samples from four sites on the southern margin of the sound to examine seasonal changes in the fish assemblage found there over the course of the year. Environmental parameters (temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen) were measured in conjunction with sampling. Seasonal trends were observed, with overall fish abundance peaking in the summer months. Dominant species included pinfish and pipefish, present through the year, and several species of sciaenids which showed seasonal peaks. A large rainfall event in the spring of 2014 resulted in unusually low salinities for much of the summer. These changes appear to have altered the nature of the seagrass community, and potentially impacted fish assemblages found there.

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Title Annotation:Biological Sciences Paper Abstracts
Author:Shirley, Hannah R.; McCall, John N.
Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Apr 1, 2015
Words:237
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