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Research Technical Report

Spot the Prawn: Estimating the Distribution of Spot Prawn (Pandalus platyceros) within the Carmel Bay Submarine Canyon

Adelaars, J., J. Lindholm, and A. DeVogelaere (April 2012)

Poster presentation at Sanctuary Currents Symposium, Seaside, CA


Determining species-habitat associations within marine ecosystems provides a reference point from which to estimate a species' spatial distribution based on the extent of their habitat. Given the cost of research at-sea and the long timeline associated with planning expeditions, developing this capability will enhance resource management. The abundance of spot prawn (Pandalus platyceros) within the Carmel Bay submarine canyon presented a suitable scenario for making these predictive distributions founded on fine-scale observations. The objective of this study was to estimate the distribution of spot prawn within Carmel Bay by their habitat association. This was achieved by incorporating geographically referenced prawn observation points with physical parameters derived from high-resolution bathymetry maps. These data were synthesized using a general linear model and surface analysis software. The resulting map depicted the probability of occurrence of spotted prawn within the canyon. Based on this map, prawns occur predominantly along the canyon walls with greater densities just below the continental shelf-break. The outputs of this project are useful to marine resource management agencies by providing a tool for visualizing benthic ecosystems off the California coast when direct measurements are not possible.