Dealing with temporal variation and different life stages of whitemouth croaker Micropogonias furnieri (Actinopterygii, Sciaenidae) in species distribution modeling to improve essential estuarine fish habitat identification

Costa, Micheli Duarte de Paula; Muelbert, José Henrique; Vieira Sobrinho, João Paes; Castello, Jorge Pablo


Understanding the habitat usage of a species is essential to assessing the impacts of human activities, conservation efforts, and management issues on that species. Whitemouth croaker, an important species in the artisanal fishery market, inhabits different habitats of the Patos Lagoon estuary year-round based on the stage of its life cycle. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that habitat preferences and changes in abundance during the life cycle influence the model outcomes in the study of species distribution. Additionally, we evaluated whether incorporating additional life stages within the model affected the outcome of what comprised the essential fish habitat. Our results showed that the model’s outcome was affected when temporal variability and additional life stages were considered. We suggest that variability in abundance and habitat preferences at different developmental stages must be considered when identifying essential fish habitat of species with complex life cycles, such as whitemouth croaker. Understanding these changes could improve conservation and management outcomes.

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  • IO - Artigos publicados em periódicos