To evaluate the success of reestablishing tidal connection to salt marshes as a method of creating new fish habitat, both newly-restored and previously-restored (hereafter termed "reference") habitats within the Huntington Beach Wetlands Complex were monitored over a two year period. Although fish abundance and diversity metrics were generally equivalent between marshes within one year, community composition remained different. Newly-restored habitat generally had higher abundances of planktivores (e.g., Atherinops affinis), and lower abundances of benthic carnivores (e.g., Fundulus parvipinnis ) relative to reference habitat. To determine the possible mechanisms driving fish habitat use patterns, trophic support was assessed for juvenile California halibut, Paralichthys californicus, using gut content and stable isotope analyses of wild-caught and caged individuals. Observed differences in the diet of halibut across size classes indicated ontogenetic shifts in feeding behaviors, while similarity in diet among marshes suggested the potential for rapid development of trophic support within restored habitats for this species.
|Advisor:||Allen, Bengt J.|
|Commitee:||Lowe, Christopher G., Whitcraft, Christine|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 52/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Ecology, Natural Resource Management|
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