THE SEASONALITY AND SPATIAL PATTERNS OF JUVENILE SURF ZONE FISHES OF THE FLORIDA EAST COAST
Peters, Dennis J.
Nelson, Walter G.
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Spatial and temporal patterns of variability were examined (April 1982 - June 1983) for 61 species of surf zone fishes (6,611) at beaches in Melbourne and Sebastian, Florida. The three numerically dominant species, Harengula jaguana, Anchoa lyolepis, and Trachinotus carolinus, comprised over 70 % of all individuals. Temporal and spatial variability at several scales were important aspects of the structure of this fish assemblage. Fishes were most abundant seasonally during spring, summer, and fall (2,659) and least abundant during winter (6). Small scale spatial variability was found on beaches adjacent to the jetties at Sebastian Inlet. Both total number of individuals and species significantly decreased (p<0.05) with increasing distance from the jetty structures. Differences in subtidal habitat heterogeneity between Melbourne Beach and the beaches immediately south of Sebastian Inlet may account for the fact that twenty species were collected at the Sebastian sites which were not found at the Melbourne site.