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Habitat characteristics of resident, non-spawning and nursery-type fish species of the Dutch Coastal Zone
van der Veer, H.W.; Witte, J. IJ. (1996). Habitat characteristics of resident, non-spawning and nursery-type fish species of the Dutch Coastal Zone. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 132: 1-13
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630; e-ISSN 1616-1599, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Document type: Project report


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  • van der Veer, H.W.
  • Witte, J. IJ.

    The habitat characteristics for the functional groups of the fish fauna of the Dutch coastal zone are analyzed based on survey data for the western Wadden Sea. The analysis has been restricted to representative members of the various functional groups and to demersal species only. The various functional groups showed a different pattern of relative use of the different habitat types. For all four functional groups (resident, non-spawning, nursery-type and seasonal visitors) the use of the habitat increased from intertidal to subtidal and tidal channel. Species richness was lowest at the tidal flats and highest in the tidal channels. Marine seasonal visitors were never observed at the intertidal stations. Nursery-type species used the intertidal area more than non-spawning species and resident species did. For both the resident species and the nursery-type species growth appeared to be maximal and only determined by the prevailing water temperature. This supports the 'carrying capacity' hypothesis which states that the various predatory fish species are not food limited, and that no density-dependent growth occurs. The 'distribution hypothesis', predicting a relationship between the distribution of both predator and its main prey species was falsified for the resident species studied. Their distribution did not correspond to that of their main prey items, the crustaceans. In contrast, the distribution of the nursery-type species followed that of their prey items, the infauna. It is concluded that the distribution of the various fish species will only follow that of their main prey species in case of sessile infaunal prey. In case the main prey items consist of mobile epibenthic species, no relationships will be present.

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