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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Phelan, B.A., J.P. Manderson, A.W. Stoner, A.J. Bejda. 2001. Size-related shifts in the habitat associations of young-of-the-year winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus): field observations and laboratory experiments with sediments and prey. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 257:297-315.


Field surveys and laboratory studies were used to determine the role of substrata in habitat selection by young-of-the year winter flounder. A synoptic field survey of winter flounder and sediments in the Navesink River--Sandy Hook Bay estuarine system in New Jersey demonstrated that winter flounder distribution was related to sediment grain size. Analysis using a generalized additive model indicated that the probability of capturing 10-49 mm SL winter flounder was high on sediments with a mean grain diameter of ≤0.5 mm, while fish 50-95 mm were least likely to be collected on fine sediments and most commonly on sediments with a grain-size near 1.0 mm. In the laboratory, sediment preferences and the burying ability of winter flounder (15-69 mm SL) were tested by exposing fish in 10-mm size groups to a choice of azoic sediments of different sediment grain sizes. Smaller individuals (<40 mm SL) preferred fine-grained sediments while larger individuals (≥40 mm SL) preferred coarse-grained sediments. Burying ability increased with size and all flounders avoided sediments that prevented burial. Subsequent laboratory experiments revealed that the presence of live prey (Mya arenaria) can over-ride sediment choice by winter flounder (50-68 mm SL) indicating the complexity of interrelated factors in habitat choice.


Last updated 31 March, 2009

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