Abiotic affinities and spatiotemporal distribution of the endangered smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata, in a south-western Florida nursery

Poulakis, Gregg R., Stevens, Philip W., Timmers, Amy A., Wiley, Tonya R., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2011) Abiotic affinities and spatiotemporal distribution of the endangered smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata, in a south-western Florida nursery. Marine and Freshwater Research, 62 (10). pp. 1165-1177.

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Abstract

Understanding how endangered marine species rely on coastal habitats is vital for population recovery planning. The smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) is one of several critically endangered sawfishes worldwide known to use estuaries and rivers during their early life history. In a Florida estuary designated as critical habitat by the USA government, juveniles were monitored to characterise seasonality, recruitment, and habitat use. Stretched total length ranged from 671 to 2172 mm (n = 137, mean = 1248 mm). Sawfish were captured year round. Captures of neonates with embryonic rostral sheaths allowed refinement of the size at birth (671–812 mm) and confirmed a protracted timing of parturition (November–July), which peaked between April and May. Although sampling occurred throughout the estuary, five locations had the greatest catch rates. Most juvenile sawfish had an affinity for water <1 m deep, water >30°C, dissolved oxygen >6 mg L–1, and salinity between 18 and 30. Greater catch rates for sawfish >1 year old were associated with shoreline habitats with overhanging vegetation such as mangroves. These results detail habitat use within a recognised nursery that can be used for conservation of the first endangered marine fish species in the USA.

Item ID: 20894
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Caloosahatchee River, Charlotte Harbor, elasmobranch, habitat use, lower lethal temperature, Myakka River, ontogenetic niche shift, Peace River, Pristidae, ray, tag–recapture
ISSN: 1448-6059
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2012 06:21
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
Downloads: Total: 2
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