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Use of Salt-Marsh Peat Reefs by Small Juvenile Lobsters on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Kenneth W. Able, Kenneth L. Heck, Jr., Michael P. Fahay and Charles T. Roman
Estuaries
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp. 83-86
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1351994
Page Count: 4
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Use of Salt-Marsh Peat Reefs by Small Juvenile Lobsters on Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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Abstract

The habitats utilized by small juvenile (<40 mm carapace length, CL) lobsters (Homarus americanus) are poorly known. We discovered and studied an undescribed juvenile lobster habitat in Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod. Juvenile lobsters (X̄ = 26.7 mm carapace length, 6 to 72 mm, n = 38) were collected from suction samples primarily in "peat reef" habitats during the period from August 1985 through October 1986. The reefs consisted of large blocks of Spartina alterniflora peat that had separated from the marsh surface and fallen into adjacent subtidal marsh channels. The smallest lobsters (6 to 7 mm CL) were collected from peat reefs in October 1985, and April and July 1986. In these habitats, juvenile lobster density averaged 2.5 individuals m-2 (range 0-5.7) in suction samples. Peat reef habitats occur in other salt marshes in the northeastern United States and may be an important nursery habitat for small juvenile lobsters.

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