Alternate Title

Seasonal Patterns of Juvenile Fish Abundance in Seagrass Meadows in Teague Bay Bank Barrier Reef Lagoon, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Document Type



Considerable knowledge has been gained regarding fish use of nearshore habitats such as seagrass meadows or mangrove lagoons in the Caribbean (e.g., evaluation of nursery value, trophic linkages). However, few studies have been conducted on fish recruitment to seagrass habitat around the Caribbean. Juvenile reef fish in seagrass meadows at Teague Bay, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands were surveyed from October 1998 through September 1999 using a visual census technique. Grunts (Haemulidae) were the most abundant juveniles observed (60% of all fish), followed by wrasses (Labridae, 20%) and parrotfishes (Scaridae, 13%). French grunt, Haemulon flavolineatum, were the most numerous species (59.5% of all fish), followed by slippery dick, Halichoeres bivittatus (18.5%), and bucktooth parrotfish, Sparisoma radians (10.4%). Most numerically abundant fish species demonstrated peaks in recruitment during late summer and fall. Our results imply that the functioning of seagrass beds incorporates strong seasonal patterns of small-fish abundance that need to be accommodated in any study wishing to understand their importance to fisheries.

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