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The Nearshore Fish Assemblage of the Scripps Coastal Reserve, San Diego, California

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Marine reserves are quickly becoming a primary tool in the management of coastal resources worldwide. With a growing demand for appropriate management strategies and enforcement of existing regulations, an urgent need has developed to obtain baseline data for regional faunal assemblages. In an attempt to develop a comprehensive list of fishes for one of California's southernmost marine reserves, nearshore marine species were qualitatively sampled within the Scripps Coastal Reserve (SCR). Overall, 59 species representing 31 families were recorded during the calendar year 2002. The fish assemblage of the SCR was dominated by species typical of soft bottom communities in southern California as well as several pelagic, rocky reef, and intertidal species. The most abundant species was the speckled sanddab, Citharichthys stigmaeus. Many species were represented by juvenile or young-of-the-year age classes, while adults of C. stigmaeus were present in reproductively active stages throughout the study. The numerous habitat types within the Scripps Coastal Reserve support a diverse fish assemblage within a relatively small area and includes essential habitat and nursery grounds for several species of nearshore fishes. These data support the idea that incorporating habitat diversity as a variable in reserve design may serve to increase the function of proposed reserves.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California 2: Integrated Oceanography Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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