Pelagic Sargassum as Essential Fisheries Habitat in the Northern Gulf of Mexico:
Utilization by Important Fisheries Species

Sampling Gear

• 1mx2m neuston net
Small mesh (0.95mm) for collection of larval and small juvenile fish - towed next to windrows and fronts
• 1mx2m neuston net
Larger mesh (1/8 inch) for collection of juvenile fish - towed perpendicularly through a windrow
• "Wash-down" table
To remove fish from Sargassum
• Plankton Bongo Net
Small mesh (0.33 mm) for collection of eggs and small larval fish
• Miniature Purse Seine
100-ft long (1/8 inch mesh) for collection of larger juvenile and adult fish - set around a patch of Sargassum, pursed and then hoisted onto the vessel.
• Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)*
Standardized videotaping of juvenile and adult fishes** - "driving" the ROV
• Supplemental Gear: Hook & Line
Collection of juvenile and adult fish
• Water Quality: Hydrolab® DataSonde
Provides a vertical profile of the front


Also measured: Surface Temperature, Surface Salinity, Surface Dissolved Oxygen, Water Clarity, Classify the Habitat Type, and Estimate Areal coverage of Sargassum

*The National Undersea Research Center (University of North Carolina - Wilmington) provided the ROV and an operator at no charge to the project.

**The standardized "video sample" can be used to compare diversity and abundance.

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