Pink shrimp, Farfantepenaeus duorarum, recruitment variability as an indicator of Florida Bay dynamics

Nelson M. Ehrhardt, Christopher M. Legault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Florida Bay exhibits highly dynamic hydrographic regimes that influence variability in the retention, survivorship, and migration of pink shrimp, Farfantepenaeus duorarum, larvae and juveniles. Florida Bay is the nursery habitat for pink shrimp and since a large fishery is based on the adult population in the Dry Tortugas region, Florida Bay plays a fundamental role in the health of the pink shrimp fishery in South Florida. Conversely, the level of shrimp recruitment to the fishery can act as an indicator of the health of Florida Bay, integrating multiple biological, physical, and environmental variables. We examined 372 mo of data on commercial landings of pink shrimp to estimate monthly recruitment. We found recruitment occurs throughout the year, there are one or more seasonal peaks, and the magnitude and monthly position of the peaks changed through decades. These changes may be explained by a varying spawning population producing different levels of eggs, by environmental changes in the nursery grounds that modulate a nearly constant supply of eggs, or a combination of these. Recruitment estimates and the residuals about stock-recruitment relationships were compared over three decades (1965-1995) in terms of annual and monthly trends and average patterns. Significant differences found between the decades could be due to ecological changes in Florida Bay, specifically to loss of recruitment peaks, with an associated overall decline in pink shrimp recruitment. For the latest years of the study, recruitment and residuals about the stock-recruitment curve are increasing, which may indicate an improvement in Florida Bay as a nursery ground for pink shrimp, and thus as habitat for Other organisms as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-483
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Environmental Science(all)


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