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    Author(s): Brooke E. Penaluna; Leo R. Bodensteiner
    Date: 2015
    Source: Northwestern Naturalist. 96(3): 222-226.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (485.0 KB)


    Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is the dominant seagrass along the Pacific North American Coast, providing complex physical structure, high trophic productivity, and protection from predators (Phillips 1984; Simenstad 1994). Because of these multiple functions, many fish species and life stages use Eelgrass beds more than other nearshore habitat types (Dean and others 2000; Murphy and others 2000; Johnson and Thedinga 2005). Currently, there is growing evidence identifying nearshore habitats as places that may be regularly inhabitated by large-bodied fish, including sharks (Tobin and others 2014), but it is not clear how much sharks use Eelgrass habitat. In other parts of North America, several sharks have been reported inhabiting Eelgrass habitat, including Sandbar Sharks (Carcharhinus milberti) in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and Virginia (Orth and Heck 1980), Leopard Sharks (Triakis semifasciata) in Humboldt Bay, California (Ebert and Ebert 2005), and Gray Smooth-hound Sharks (Mustelus californicus) in Bolsa Chica, Orange County, California (Espinoza and others 2011). Conversely, reports of sharks are rare in Eelgrass beds in the Salish Sea region, which is located between the southwestern tip of British Columbia and the northwestern tip of Washington (Fig. 1; Farrer 2009). In this region, North Pacific Spiny Dogfish (Squalus suckleyi Girard 1854; Ebert and others 2010), hereafter Spiny Dogfish, are currently considered an abundant upper trophic level predator (Harvey and others 2010). Although Spiny Dogfish have been documented as making local movements along the nearshore in Puget Sound, Washington (Andrews and Harvey 2013), they have not generally been reported in Eelgrass habitat. Spiny Dogfish, however, have been captured in sand and Eelgrass habitat in Samish Bay, Washington, using overnight commercial gill net sets (Farrer 2009). Here we document the use of Eelgrass habitat by Spiny Dogfish.

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    Penaluna, Brooke E.; Bodensteiner, Leo R. 2015. North Pacific Spiny Dogfish (Squalus suckleyi) presence in Eelgrass habitat in the Salish Sea, Washington. Northwestern Naturalist. 96(3): 222-226.


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    Eelgrass, mesopredator, Oncorhynchus, Pacific Herring, Puget Sound, salmon, Spiny Dogfish, Squalus suckleyi, Zostera marina.

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