Alternate Title

Trade-offs Between Gear Selectivity and Logistics when Sampling Nekton from Shallow Open Water Habitats: A Gear Comparison Study

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We compared logistical issues and the catch composition, density, and size structure of nekton samples collected with a drop sampler, benthic sled, and a fine mesh cast net in shallow non-vegetated habitats of Galveston Bay, Texas. Approximately 16 cast net replicates were collected and sorted for every one drop or benthic sled sample. The drop sampler collected the greatest number of species and provided the highest density estimates for the majority of crustaceans and small demersal fishes; the sled provided comparable density estimates for penaeids and small demersal nekton, while under-representing more mobile fishes. Densities of small benthic nekton were underestimated by the cast net, but it provided the highest density estimates for larger and mobile fishes. Within the selectivity constraints of each gear, the sled and cast net provide viable alternatives to the drop sampler for sampling particular nekton from shallow open water habitats.

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