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Identification of Key Fish Habitat Helps Make Case for Prioritizing Hard Bottom Areas

Scientists conducting a collaborative study have identified correlations between fish communities and seafloor features at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS). The study quantifies specific factors that link fish to limestone ledges, a rare bottom type in the southeastern U.S. that supports high biomass and diversity of fish and invertebrates in the region. Ledges cover only about 1-5 percent of the southeastern U.S. continental shelf, but have the highest biotic diversity. They merit high priority in regional research, conservation, and management plans. National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and GRNMS scientists worked together on this research. For more information, see publication below.

Publication: Kendall, M.S., L.J. Bauer, and C.F.G. Jeffrey. 2009. Influence of Hard Bottom Morphology on Fish Assemblages of the Continental Shelf Off Georgia, Southeastern USA. Bulletin of Marine Science 84:265-286 (online: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/umrsmas/bullmar/2009/00000084/00000003/art00002).

Related NCCOS Center(s):
Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=1890

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