Conservation and management of Florida Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). How can a detailed understanding of the environmental and biological factors influencing population dynamics help to better manage the species?
This study developed generalized additive models for three separate Florida populations of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) to investigate trends in abundance and distribution of juveniles, environmental effects on reproduction, and growth models based on back-calculation. Distribution and habitat models were sufficiently robust to allow transfer between estuaries based on local environmental conditions. Recruitment indices, based on the year effect from such models can provide robust measures of abundance and these trends are population specific. Reproductive models suggest that inter-population differences in reproduction are driven largely by environmental differences rather than behavioural or genetic population differences and therefore model should be universally applicable under known environmental conditions. In contrast growth models suggest that although age and sex effects on otolith and somatic growth are similar between populations growth differs by cohort and year.
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