Advertisement

Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 55–68 | Cite as

Demersal fish assemblages in the Southern California Bight based on visual surveys in deep water

  • Milton S. LoveEmail author
  • Mary Yoklavich
  • Donna M. Schroeder
Article

Abstract

Between 1995 and 2006, manned submersible fish surveys were conducted on the sea floor throughout the Southern California Bight. A total of 401 dives (comprising 1,015 transects and 14,373 habitat patches) were made in waters between 19 and 365 m deep. All natural habitat types were included, although both soft sea floors and rocky reefs were surveyed more than any other type. A total of 717,526 fishes, representing a minimum of 137 species and 47 families, were observed. Rockfishes (genus Sebastes), with a minimum of 50 species and 647,495 individuals (90.2% of all fishes observed), dominated most of the habitats. The most abundant species, squarespot (Sebastes hopkinsi), halfbanded (Sebastes semicinctus), shortbelly (Sebastes jordani), and pygmy rockfishes (Sebastes wilsoni), are dwarf taxa that either school or aggregate. The most abundant non-rockfish species was the benthic and territorial blackeye goby (Rhinogobiops nicholsii). Both species richness and overall fish densities were highest in the shallowest sites. Most of the fishes in all habitats were small (≤20 cm TL long) and economically important species were generally uncommon. Forty-four species were found to be characteristic of the study area (occurring in at least 5% of the transects) and these species formed three faunal associations centered around depths of 62, 105, and 168 m. Based on size frequency distributions, at least 18 of the characteristic species exhibited ontogenetic movements, with young-of-the-year and older juveniles living in relatively shallow waters and larger individuals generally in deeper depths. In this study, the abundance of juvenile widow rockfish (Sebastes entomelas), and the virtual absence of adults, in southern California waters may demonstrate an ontogenetic northward movement of this species. This research implies that substantial harvesting of larger species by commercial and recreational fishers has helped alter some fish assemblages, allowing small and “weedy” species to thrive.

Keywords

Delta submersible Rockfishes Species assemblages Scorpaenidae 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the pilots of the research submersible Delta, C. Ijames, D. Slater, and J. Lilly, for support in the field. B. Lenarz assisted with statistical analyses. M. Nishimoto, L. Snook, T. Laidig, T. Anderson, R. Starr, M. McCrea, A. Bull, and B. Lea assisted with the survey work. Funding was provided by the U. S. Geological Survey’s Biological Resources Division, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Minerals Management Service, NOAA Fisheries, SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Office of Habitat Conservation, and Office of Protected Resources; the National Undersea Research Program; NOAA Marine Protected Area Science Center; and the California Artificial Reef Enhancement Program.

Supplementary material

10641_2008_9389_MOESM1_ESM.rtf (1 mb)
ESM Appendix 1 (RTF 1.01 MB)

References

  1. Ahlstrom EH (1959) Vertical distribution of pelagic fish eggs and larvae off California and Baja California. US Fish Wildl Serv Fish Bull 60:107–146Google Scholar
  2. Allen WH (1945) Occurrence and abundance of marine plankton diatoms offshore in southern California. Trans Am Microsc Soc 64:21–24 doi: 10.2307/3223434 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen MS, Groce AK, Diener D, Brown J, Steinert SA, Deets G et al (2002) Southern California Bight 1998 regional monitoring program: V. Demersal fishes and megabenthic invertebrates. S Calif Coastal Water Res Proj, Westminster, CAGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen MS, Mikel T, Cadien D, Kalman JE, Jarvis ET, Schiff KC et al (2007) Southern California Bight 2003 regional monitoring program. IV. Demersal fishes and megabenthic invertebrates. Calif Coastal Water Res Proj, Costa Mesa, CAGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson TJ, Yoklavich MM (2007) Multiscale habitat associations of deepwater demersal fishes off central California. Fish Bull (Wash DC) 105:168–179Google Scholar
  6. Bailey KM, Francis RC, Stevens PR (1982) The life history and fishery of Pacific whiting, Merluccius productus. CCOFI Rep 23:81–98Google Scholar
  7. Bograd SJ, Digiacomo PM, Durazo R, Hayward TL, Hyrenbach KD, Lynn RJ et al (2000) The state of the California Current, 1999–2000: forward to a new regime? CCOFI Rep 41:26–52Google Scholar
  8. Coates J, Gunderson DR, LaFrance L, Miller BS (2007) Changes in growth and recruitment of the Puget Sound rockfish (Sebastes emphaeus) in northern Puget Sound. In: Heifetz J, Dicosimo J, Gharrett AJ, Love MS, O’Connell VM, Stanley RD (eds) Biology, assessment, and management of North Pacific rockfishes. Alaska Sea Grant, AnchorageGoogle Scholar
  9. Dailey MD, Anderson JW, Reish DJ, Gorsline DS (1993) The Southern California Bight: background and setting. In: Dailey MD, Reish DJ, Anderson JW (eds) Ecology of the Southern California Bight. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  10. Dawson JK, Pieper RE (1993) Zooplankton. In: Dailey MD, Reish DJ, Anderson JW (eds) Ecology of the Southern California Bight. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  11. Ebeling AW, Larson RJ, Alevizon WS (1980) Habitat groups and island–mainland distribution of kelp-bed fishes off Santa Barbara, California. In: Power DM (ed) The California islands: proceedings of a multidisciplinary symposium. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa BarbaraGoogle Scholar
  12. Greene HG, Yoklavich MM, Starr RM, O’Connell VM, Wakefield WW, Sullivan DE et al (1999) A classification scheme for deep seafloor habitats. Oceanol Acta 22:663–678 doi: 10.1016/S0399-1784(00)88957-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hickey BM (1993) Physical oceanography. In: Dailey MD, Reish DJ, Anderson JW (eds) Ecology of the Southern California Bight. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  14. LaPlante LH (2006) Length-specific brood size and winter parturition in pink seaperch (Zalembius rosaceus) (Perciformes: Embiotocidae). Fish Bull (Wash DC) 104:623–625Google Scholar
  15. Lissner AL, Dorsey JH (1986) Deep-water biological assemblages of a hard-bottom bank-ridge complex of the southern California continental borderland. Bull South Calif Acad Sci 85:87–101Google Scholar
  16. Love MS (2006) Subsistence, commercial, and recreational fisheries. In: Allen LG, Pondella DJ II, Horn MH (eds) The ecology of marine fishes. California and adjacent waters. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  17. Love MS, York A (2005) A comparison of the fish assemblages associated with an oil/gas pipeline and adjacent seafloor in the Santa Barbara Channel, southern California Bight. Bull Mar Sci 77:101–117Google Scholar
  18. Love MS, Schroeder DM (2007) A characterization of the fish assemblage of deep photic zone rock outcrops in the Anacapa Passage, Southern California, 1995 to 2004. CCOFI Rep 48:165–176Google Scholar
  19. Love MS, Yoklavich MM (2008) Habitat characteristics of juvenile cowcod, Sebastes levis (Scorpaenidae), in Southern California. Environ Biol Fishes 82:195–202 doi: 10.1007/s10641-007-9290-x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Love M, Carr M, Haldorson L (1991) The ecology of substrate-associated juveniles of the genus Sebastes. Environ Biol Fishes 30:225–243 doi: 10.1007/BF02296891 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Love MS, Caselle J, Van Buskirk W (1998) A severe decline in the commercial passenger fishing vessel rockfish (Sebastes spp.) catch in the southern California Bight, 1980–1996. CCOFI Rep 39:180–195Google Scholar
  22. Love MS, Caselle J, Snook L (1999) Fish assemblages on mussel mounds surrounding seven oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel and Santa Maria Basin. Bull Mar Sci 65:497–513Google Scholar
  23. Love MS, Caselle J, Snook L (2000) Fish assemblages around seven oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel. Fish Bull (Wash DC) 98:96–117Google Scholar
  24. Love MS, Yoklavich MM, Thorsteinson L (2002) The rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  25. Love MS, Schroeder DM, Lenarz B (2006) Gimme shelter: the importance of crevices to some fish species inhabiting a deeper-water rocky outcrop in southern California. CCOFI Rep 47:119–126Google Scholar
  26. Miller DJ, Gotshall D (1965) Ocean sportfish catch and effort from Oregon to Point Arguello, California. Calif Dept Fish Game. Fish Bull 130:1–135Google Scholar
  27. Murie DJ, Parkyn DC, Clapp BG, Krause GG (1994) Observations on the distribution and activities of rockfish, Sebastes spp., in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia, from the Pisces IV submersible. Fish Bull (Wash DC) 92:313–323Google Scholar
  28. North WJ, Hubbs CL (eds) (1968) Utilization of kelp-bed resources in southern California. Calif Dep Fish Game, Fish Bull 139Google Scholar
  29. Pearcy WG, Stein DL, Hixon MA, Pikitch EK, Barss WH, Starr RM (1989) Submersible observations of deep-reef fishes of Heceta Bank, Oregon. Fish Bull (Wash DC) 87:955–965Google Scholar
  30. Quast JC (1968) Fish fauna of the rocky inshore area. In: North WJ, Hubbs CL (eds). Utilization of kelp-bed resources in southern California. Calif Fish Game, Fish BullGoogle Scholar
  31. R (2005) The R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Version 2.1.1 (2005-06-20)Google Scholar
  32. Ralston S, Lenarz WL (2001) Widow rockfish. In: Lee WS, Dewees CM, Klingbeil R, Larson EJ (eds) California’s living marine resources: a status report. California Department of Fish and Game, Publication SG01-11Google Scholar
  33. RecFin (2007) Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Portland, Oregon. http://www.recfin.org
  34. Richards LJ (1986) Depth and habitat distributions of three species of rockfish (Sebastes) in British Columbia: observations from the submersible Pisces IV. Environ Biol Fishes 17:13–21 doi: 10.1007/BF00000397 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shaw FR, Wilkins ME, Weinberg KL, Zimmermann M, Lauth RR (2000) The 1998 Pacific west coast bottom trawl survey of groundfish resources: estimates of distribution, abundance, and length and age composition. NOAA Tech Mem NMFS-AFSC-114Google Scholar
  36. Stein DL, Tissot BN, Hixon MA, Barss W (1992) Fish–habitat associations on a deep reef at the edge of the Oregon continental shelf. Fish Bull (Wash DC) 90:540–551Google Scholar
  37. Stephens JS Jr, Morris PA, Zerba K, Love M (1984) Factors affecting fish diversity on a temperate reef: the fish assemblage of Palos Verdes Point, 1974–1981. Environ Biol Fishes 11:259–275 doi: 10.1007/BF00001373 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang SS-E (2005) Groundfish habitat associations from video survey with a submersible off the Washington State coast. Thesis, University of WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  39. Ware DM, Thomson RE (2005) Bottom-up ecosystem trophic dynamics determine fish production in the northeast. Pac Sci 308:128–1284Google Scholar
  40. Yoklavich MM, O’Connell V (2008) Twenty years of research on demersal communities using the Delta submersible off Alaska and the west coast of North America. In: Reynolds JR et al (eds) Marine habitat mapping technology for Alaska. Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks (in press)Google Scholar
  41. Yoklavich MM, Greene HG, Cailliet GM, Sullivan DE, Lea RM, Love MS (2000) Habitat associations of deep-water rockfishes in a submarine canyon: an example of a natural refuge. Fish Bull (Wash DC) 98:625–641Google Scholar
  42. Yoklavich M, Cailliet G, Lea RN, Greene HG, Starr R, de Marignac J et al (2002) Deepwater habitat and fish resources associated with the Big Creek Marine Ecological Reserve. CCOFI Rep 43:120–140Google Scholar
  43. Yoklavich M, Love MS, Forney KA (2007) A fishery-independent assessment of cowcod (Sebastes levis) using direct observations from an occupied submersible. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 64:1795–1804 doi: 10.1139/F07-145 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milton S. Love
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mary Yoklavich
    • 2
  • Donna M. Schroeder
    • 3
  1. 1.Marine Science InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServiceSanta CruzUSA
  3. 3.Minerals Management ServiceCamarilloUSA

Personalised recommendations