Discontinuities concentrate mobile predators : quantifying organism–environment interactions at a seascape scale
Kennedy, Cristina G.
Mather, Martha E.
Smith, Joseph M.
Finn, John T.
Deegan, Linda A.
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordConservation; Discontinuities; Distribution; Drivers; Habitat; Mobile organisms; Morone saxatilis; Seascape
Understanding environmental drivers of spatial patterns is an enduring ecological problem that is critical for effective biological conservation. Discontinuities (ecologically meaningful habitat breaks), both naturally occurring (e.g., river confluence, forest edge, drop-off) and anthropogenic (e.g., dams, roads), can influence the distribution of highly mobile organisms that have land- or seascape scale ranges. A geomorphic discontinuity framework, expanded to include ecological patterns, provides a way to incorporate important but irregularly distributed physical features into organism–environment relationships. Here, we test if migratory striped bass (Morone saxatilis) are consistently concentrated by spatial discontinuities and why. We quantified the distribution of 50 acoustically tagged striped bass at 40 sites within Plum Island Estuary, Massachusetts during four-monthly surveys relative to four physical discontinuities (sandbar, confluence, channel network, drop-off), one continuous physical feature (depth variation), and a geographic location variable (region). Despite moving throughout the estuary, striped bass were consistently clustered in the middle geographic region at sites with high sandbar area, close to channel networks, adjacent to complex confluences, with intermediate levels of bottom unevenness, and medium sized drop-offs. In addition, the highest striped bass concentrations occurred at sites with the greatest additive physical heterogeneity (i.e., where multiple discontinuities co-occurred). The need to incorporate irregularly distributed features in organism–environment relationships will increase as high-quality telemetry and GIS data accumulate for mobile organisms. The spatially explicit approach we used to address this challenge can aid both researchers who seek to understand the impact of predators on ecosystems and resource managers who require new approaches for biological conservation.
© The Author(s), 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Ecosphere 7 (2016): e01226, doi:10.1002/ecs2.1226.
The following license files are associated with this item:
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Eustice, Ryan M.; Singh, Hanumant; Leonard, John J. (IEEE, 2006-12)This paper reports the novel insight that the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) information matrix is exactly sparse in a delayed-state framework. Such a framework is used in view-based representations of the ...
Hierarchical and dynamic seascapes : a quantitative framework for scaling pelagic biogeochemistry and ecology Kavanaugh, Maria T.; Hales, Burke; Saraceno, Martin; Spitz, Yvette H.; White, Angelicque E.; Letelier, Ricardo M. (2013-10-07)Comparative analyses of oceanic ecosystems require an objective framework to define coherent study regions and scale the patterns and processes observed within them. We applied the hierarchical patch mosaic paradigm of ...
A framework for a marine biodiversity observing network within changing continental shelf seascapes Muller-Karger, Frank E.; Kavanaugh, Maria T.; Montes, Enrique; Balch, William M.; Breitbart, Mya; Chavez, Francisco P.; Doney, Scott C.; Johns, Elizabeth M.; Letelier, Ricardo M.; Lomas, Michael W.; Sosik, Heidi M.; White, Angelicque E. (The Oceanography Society, 2014-06)Continental shelves and the waters overlying them support numerous industries as diverse as tourism and recreation, energy extraction, fisheries, transportation, and applications of marine bio-molecules (e.g., agribusiness, ...