Spatial and temporal shifts in suitable habitat of juvenile southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) Academic Article uri icon


  • Factors influencing suitable habitats of juvenile southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) within the Galveston Bay Complex (GBC), Texas, were assessed using generalized additive models (GAM). Fishery independent data collected with bag seines throughout the GBC from 1999 to 2009 were used to predict the probability of southern flounder occurrence. Binomial GAMs were used to assess presence/absence of southern flounder and models included temporal variables, benthic variables such as distance to habitats generated within a geographic information system, and physicochemical conditions of the water column. Separate models were generated for newly settled southern flounder, young-of-the-year (YOY) southern flounder observed in the summer, and YOY southern flounder observed in fall based on size and collection month. Factors affecting southern flounder occurrence changed seasonally, as did the corresponding shifts in the spatial distribution of suitable habitat. Temporal effects (year and month) were retained in all models. Physicochemical conditions (temperature, turbidity, and measures of environmental variability), and the presence of seagrass beds were influential for newly settled southern flounder. Distance to marine and/or freshwater sources were found to be important for YOY southern flounder in the summer and fall seasons. The abundance of brown shrimp was found to only influence the distribution of YOY southern flounder in the fall, when intermediate abundances of the potential prey item increased the occurrence of southern flounder. After model completion, the availability and spatial distribution of suitable habitat within the GBC was predicted using available environmental and spatial data for 2005. Spatial distributions of predicted suitable habitat stress the relative importance of West Bay during the newly settled stage and in the fall season, and Upper Bay during the summer and fall of the first year of life. These models demonstrate the potential dynamics of suitable habitats for juvenile southern flounder and provide insight into ontogenetic shifts in habitat preference during the first year of life. 2012 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Furey, N. B., & Rooker, J. R.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Furey, Nathan B||Rooker, Jay R

publication date

  • February 2013