The efficacy of artificial settlement substrates in quantifying relative rates of settlement of blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, postlarvae (megalopae) was examined. The technique has been widely used to assess settlement at local (Chesapeake Bay) and broad geographic scales (Atlantic
and Gulf Coasts). This analysis examined differences in settlement between two configurations of substrates and two depths of deployment, in relation to lunar day, month, year and hours of flood tide occurring at night. Substrates were deployed daily for four years (1989–1992) during
the settlement season (July–November) in the York River, Virginia. Settlement did not differ between substrate configurations (flat and cylindrical) deployed at the same location in the water column. Substrates deployed at the bottom of the water column had higher settlement than substrates
at the surface, except during the last lunar month sampled (approximately November), when settlement was higher at the surface. There was a semilunar periodicity in settlement with high settlement following the new and full moon phases. Settlement varied annually and with lunar month. Statistical
efficiency was achieved with a minimum of three or four replicate substrates. Cylindrical artificial settlement substrates are efficient, reliable and capable of detecting temporal patterns in settlement.
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