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Free Content Soft-sediment recruitment dynamics of early blue crab stages in Mississippi Sound

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In order to understand the recruitment dynamics of early blue crabs, it is necessary to sample quantitatively across early stages and habitats at appropriate spatio-temporal scales. Few studies of early blue crab recruitment have considered the potential role of soft-sediment habitat or directly related megalopal supply to local densities of early stages. During a 7-wk peak recruitment period, fluctuations in early stages of blue crabs from settlement collectors were significantly cross-correlated between two sites separated by 7.5 km, showing connectivity on this large spatial scale. Moreover, numbers of megalopae from settlement collectors were directly correlated with densities of early juveniles from nearby soft-sediment, showing that settlement collectors may reflect local recruitment intensity. Significant habitat variables included depth and salinity (i.e., water mass) for small post-settlement juveniles (≥6 mm CW), and substrate type for large juveniles (≤6 mm CW). Early juveniles from soft-sediment habitat were spatially aggregated at relatively low densities; although initial rates of loss may not be as high there as in structured habitats. Thus, soft-sediment habitat may subsidize the supply of early juvenile stages to structured habitats.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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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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