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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 482:241-253 (2013)  -  DOI:

Habitat associations and dispersal of black sea bass from a mid-Atlantic Bight reef

Mary C. Fabrizio1,*, John P. Manderson2, Jeffrey P. Pessutti

1Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, PO Box 1346, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062, USA
2National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory,
74 Magruder Road, Highlands, New Jersey 07732, USA

ABSTRACT: We examined habitat associations of 122 adult black sea bass Centropristis striata at a temperate reef off the coast of New Jersey, USA. The study site, located within the Historic Area Remediation Site, encompassed 46.1 km2 and included areas of rocky bottom and highly variable bathymetry. Factors influencing dispersal and habitat use were determined from acoustic telemetry data collected between May and December 2003 from a grid of 72 moored receivers. About 2.7 times as many black sea bass used the site in summer as in fall. Fish were associated with relatively shallow, complex habitats characterized by previously placed, coarse-grain material that may have provided food, shelter, or both. Deep areas (>27.5 m) with coarse-grain material were rarely used. Dispersal of black sea bass was not a pulse event, but rather a steady movement of individuals away from the site as inshore bottom water temperatures declined between late September and mid-December. Both temperature and photoperiod may serve as cues to the initiation of offshore movements of fish to wintering grounds near the edge of the shelf. Some black sea bass resided at the reef for periods of up to 6 mo encompassing the spawning period; as such, these habitats may be important to the continued production of the stock. In the mid-Atlantic Bight, surveys to estimate the relative abundance of this species during their inshore residency period should be conducted in July–August in structurally complex habitats and in waters <28 m deep.

KEY WORDS: Black sea bass · Acoustic telemetry · Dispersal · Fish habitat · Movement · Continental shelf · Negative binomial model

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Cite this article as: Fabrizio MC, Manderson JP, Pessutti JP (2013) Habitat associations and dispersal of black sea bass from a mid-Atlantic Bight reef. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 482:241-253.

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