Fish Assemblages as Indicators of Environmental Change in Nearshore Environments

  • John S. StephensJr.
  • Jo Ellen Hose
  • Milton S. Love


Fishes, because of their relatively large size and ease of identification, have long been used as indicators of environmental change (Hubbs 1948, Täning 1953, Radovich 1961, Cushing 1982). Further, the mobility and sensory perception of many species allow them to avoid environmental perturbations, and thus they can show a rapid response to environmental change. In addition, fishery records are often the only long-term biological data available to scientists desiring baseline marine biological information. Cushing (1982) defines fish stocks as “resilient” if they are able to withstand environmental change without noticeable recruitment fluctuations. Nonresilient stocks would then be indicators of environmental change, responding to primary environmental factors such as temperature, salinity, upwelling, and pollutants, or reflecting an environmental coupling to food chain or habitat fluctuations (Spies 1984).


Fish Assemblage Coral Reef Fish Kelp Forest White Croaker Southern California Bight 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John S. StephensJr.
  • Jo Ellen Hose
  • Milton S. Love

There are no affiliations available

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