Population dynamics and assessment of pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum) in subtropical nursery grounds

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Marine Biology and Fisheries

First Committee Member

Jerald S. Ault - Committee Chair


Despite their ecological and economic importance, the population dynamics of the juvenile and subadult stages of pink shrimp are poorly understood. A system science approach was implemented to study the population dynamics and habitat utilization of the immature life stages of pink shrimp in Biscayne Bay, Florida. Precise estimates of population abundance were obtained by designing stratified random sampling designs and using fishery-independent surveys. A quantitative assessment of habitat utilization indicated that shallow (<1m) seagrass beds on the western portion of the Bay are of critical importance since they are the preferred habitat for recruiting post-larvae. To estimate total mortality rates, a molt-process growth model was developed and linked to population abundance estimates. A population dynamics model was validated by comparing model outputs to observed population size-structures. Observed differences between the model and the population estimates indicated important aspects of pink shrimp biology and ecology, that can be introduced to stratify future sampling designs to improve the estimation procedures. The impacts of the live-bait fishery on the standing stock appeared to be minimal. However, the potential impacts of the food-shrimp fishery should not be underestimated and a robust monitoring and assessment program should be developed to determine their effects on stock sustainability.


Biology, Ecology; Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture

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