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Associations between fish assemblages and environmental factors in nearshore habitats of a subtropical estuary

Authors

  • S. Kupschus,

    Corresponding author
    1. Florida Marine Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 100 8th Avenue SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, U.S.A.
      Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: +1 727 896 8626; fax: +1 727 893 1374; email: sven.kupschus@fwc.state.fl.us
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  • D. Tremain

    1. Florida Marine Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 100 8th Avenue SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author

Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: +1 727 896 8626; fax: +1 727 893 1374; email: sven.kupschus@fwc.state.fl.us

Abstract

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.

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