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Free Content Distribution Patterns and Density Estimates of Fishes on a Southern California Artificial Reef with Comparisons to Natural Kelp-Reef Habitats

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This study examines the distribution and abundance patterns of eight fish species on Pendleton Artificial Reef (PAR). We also evaluate its mitigation potential by comparing densities of six fish species on PAR with those at a nearby kelp forest, San Onofre Kelp Forest (SOK) and a natural reef, Las Pulgas Reef (LPR). Density estimates on PAR indicate that blacksmith, halfmoon, and garibaldi preferred the crest stratum; black perch, California sheephead, and barred sand bass preferred the bottom stratum; and kelp bass and opaleye showed no consistent preference. Black perch is the only species exhibiting a clear difference in density among PAR modules with highest densities occurring on the most isolated module.

Fish densities on PAR were generally greater than those at LPR and SOK. Black perch, adult and subadult halfmoon and opaleye and juvenile California sheephead densities were significantly greater on PAR relative to LPR and SOK. Adult and subadult California sheep-head and juvenile kelp bass densities at PAR and LPR were statistically indistinguishable but were significantly greater than those at SOK. Barred sand bass, adult and subadult kelp bass and juvenile halfmoon and opaleye densities were not significantly different among the sites. We attribute stratum preferences and high fish densities on PAR to its physical and vertical relief. Additional factors which may influence the fish distribution and abundance patterns we observed include the ratio of reef surface area to reef perimeter and distance to neighboring reefs and hard bottom habitats.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 1985

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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