The distribution, abundance and biomass of juvenile spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) were evaluated along with information on seagrasses, sediments, water temperature and salinity in basin and channel habitats of western and central
Florida Bay during 1984-1985. Spotted seatrout juveniles were most prevalent in basin habitats in the western portion of the Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and were collected during every month sampled except May (1984); smallest individuals were collected during May (1985), June (1984, 1985),
and July (1984). The habitats in which spotted seatrout occurred had deeper, more organic sediments with greater density and biomass of the seagrass, Syringodium filiforme. than did non-seatrout areas (ANOVA, P < 0.05). Gray snapper juveniles were most prominent in channels
of the southeastern part of the Bay but also occurred in basins located to the northwest. The presence or absence of gray snapper was related to the distribution of seagrass biomass, particularly that of Thalassia testudinum in the basins and Syringodium in the chatmels. These
data suggest that seagrass meadows are critical habitats for spotted seatrout and gray snapper in Florida Bay.
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