A new report by NOAA Fisheries documents the importance of shallow-water marine and estuarine habitats in the Gulf of Maine. The report summarizes what is known about the "functional value" (for survival, growth to maturity, and reproduction) of 8 different types of habitat for 16 fish and invertebrate species.
Habitat use was assessed for the various life stages of each species in the following benthic (bottom) habitats: mud, sand, gravel/cobble, boulder, eelgrass, macroalgae, salt marsh channels, and shell beds.
Habitat use scores (1 = present, 2 = common) were assigned to each benthic life stage known to occur in depths less than 10 meters and then summarized for all species in each habitat type. The evaluation was based on a review of approximately 125 publications in scientific journals. In cases where information was lacking, scores were based on best professional judgment.
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