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Standardizing Estimates of Biomass at Recruitment and Productivity for Fin- and Shellfish in Coastal Habitats
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    Estuaries and Coasts
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  • Description:
    Assessing the biomass and productivity of fin- and shellfish supported by coastal ecosystems is important to develop plans for the conservation and restoration of these ecosystems, but such assessments are not easy to obtain. We developed a protocol that, from density data, quantifies biomass at recruitment for species where information exists to derive life history tables, and productivity where such information does not exist. Our protocol also assesses the variability (i.e., variance) for the calculated biomass and productivity values. For relatively well-reported species, inferences regarding differences among habitats or species can be suggested. For instance, application of our protocol to juvenile pinfish confirms its well-known preference for structured habitats. Mud crabs also seem to reach higher productivity levels in structured than open bottom habitats. For poorly reported species, only a general idea can be gleaned. However, larger data sets of fin- and shellfish density in shallow coastal systems are needed to increase the accuracy, precision, and comprehensiveness of the estimates of biomass at recruitment and productivity generated with our protocol. With such larger data sets and the use of statistical tools such as Bayesian methods, the protocol can significantly help improve our understanding and management of fisheries productivity in coastal systems.
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