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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Quantifying nursery habitat value for the California halibut, Paralichthys californicus: distribution, elemental fingerprinting and demographic approaches


To determine the linkages between nursery habitat utilization and the population dynamics of a coastal finfish of southern California, the California halibut, Paralichthys californicus, the following questions were asked: (1) What are the habitat associations (distribution patterns) of juvenile halibut among nearshore ecosystems (2) What are the nursery habitat origins for the individual fish ht successfully recruit to the adult population, and can the contributions from individual nursery types be predicted from distribution data? (3) Over what spatial scale are nursery contributions realized? (4) What role do nurseries play in regulating population size and (5) What are the demographic consequences (population growth) related to utilization of nursery habitat alternatives? Potential nurseries in San Diego County, California, where grouped using a novel classification system that delineated exposed, bay, lagoon and estuarine environments.

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