Variation in recruitment of larvae can be important in determining temporal and spatial variat~on in adult demersal fish populations. Thls study examines how microhabitat use by newly settled cunner Tautogolabrus adspersus (Pisces. Labrldae) influences small-scale recruitment variation. The microhabitat occupied by cunner recruits was characterized by quantifying 14 attributes of the microhab~tat at 2 sites in Southern Malne, USA. Attributes at randomly selected sites were also recorded. Cunner recruits were distributed nonrandomly anlong microhabitats wlthin sltes. Recruit presence was positively associated with the presence of macrophytes and negabvely associated with microhabitats of low structural complexity. Association with specific microhabitats differed among sites; however, microhabitats available also differed among sites. While presence or absence could be prebcted by attributes of microhabitats, small-scale densities of fish could not. These data suggest that microhabitat use is nonrandom, and that the distribution of microhabitat types may influence small scale spatial patterns of recruitment in this species.
Marine Ecology Progress Series
Inter-Research Science Center
Levin, P.S. 1991. Effects of microhabitat on recruitment variation in a Gulf of Maine reef fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series 75:183-189.