In this study, I surveyed fish populations along the shorelines of urban canals in Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA to relate habitat characteristics to fish abundance and distribution. I hypothesized 1) that there would be no difference in fish community structure between natural and hardened shorelines, and 2) that there would be no significant differences in fish community structure between the meso- and poly-haline environments in the Coral Gables Waterway. Fish data was collected by snorkeling and by using the visual underwater belt-transect method, between June and October, 2016. The six most abundant fish recorded within the study area were Silverside sp (unknown silversides; 13,548), Gambusia sp. (mosquitofish; 1,194), Sardina pilchardus (sardines; 760), Gerres sp. (common mojarra; 492), Lophogobius cyprinoides (crested goby; 412), and Lutjanus griseus (gray snapper; 272). Lutjanus griseus was the most frequently observed species and was found in a total of 84 out of 159 sites (52.8%). My data showed clearly that both shoreline type and salinity environments influence fish abundance and distribution. Although most fish species were found along various shoreline types (i.e., seawalls, mangroves, docks), they were most frequently observed along vegetated shorelines, highlighting the value of remaining natural, undeveloped sections of these urban canals. Salinity gradients had direct effects on the frequency of observed fish species within the canals; Gambusia sp., Gerres sp., and Silverside sp. preferred locations with higher salinity, whereas L. cyprinoides was most commonly observed in sites with low salinity.
Scheuermann, Taylor, "Fish utilization of living shorelines in the canals of southeast Florida." (2016). Internship Reports (Restricted). 5.
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