San Diego State University
Department of Biology
Fish Ecology Lab
Patterns of settlement and recruitment of fishes in eelgrass beds in a southern California embayment (funded by the Unified Port of San Diego; PADI Foundation; Lerner-Gray Fund for Marine Research -- American Museum of Natural History; SDSU Master's Program in Ecology)
Dani Lipski's thesis project --
Seagrass beds serve as nursery grounds for both fishes and invertebrates, providing foraging area and a refuge from predators. Recruitment of marine species is highly variable, influenced by several processes that occur during the pelagic stage, at settlement, and following settlement. This is a particularly vulnerable time when young may be exposed to predation, competition, or other processes. Structurally complex seagrass beds may play an important role in determining recruitment success by mediating the effects of these post-settlement processes.
The goals of Dani Lipski's research were to (1) examine variation in settlement and recruitment of fishes in eelgrass beds throughout San Diego Bay and to (2) explore how habitat structural complexity of eelgrass and predation may influence recruitment. Artificial seagrass units (ASUs) were deployed weekly or biweekly from June through September to estimate settlement (caged ASUs) and recruitment success (uncaged ASUs). For 2003 and 2004, recruitment corresponded to settlement in 2004 but not in 2003. Recruitment was much higher at four sites nearer the mouth of the bay than farther back in the bay. There were species-specific patterns of recruitment with structural habitat complexity, but these did not appear to be a result of differential predation. These results suggest that patterns of recruitment with the structural complexity of eelgrass is more a consequence of habitat selection at settlement than post-settlement processes, at least for the magnitude of recruitment observed here.
This page was last modified on May 10, 2012.
SDSU Fish Ecology Lab
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