• detrended correspondence analysis;
  • physical control;
  • biological control;
  • dynamic species associations;
  • fisheries management

Salinity and inlet distance were the most consistent indicators of species groupings among the 40 most abundant fish species in the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), Florida. In contrast to findings of other studies conducted on small juveniles and forage fishes in the IRL, this study suggested that distributions of the more mobile organisms are influenced more by physical conditions than by biological interactions. Consequently, environmentally-corrected single-species models will be more effective in assessing changes in stock abundance and habitat preferences of mobile species in the IRL. Because of the fluctuations in physical conditions in the IRL and other estuaries, it may be inappropriate to use biologically based methods that rely solely on species interactions to assess fish stocks in those systems.