52.1 Saturday, Jan. 5 Estimating fecundity, spawning frequency, season length of temperate reef fish; a comparison of natural and artificial reefs ADREANI, M.S.**; STEELE, M.A.; California State University, Northridge email@example.com
The reproductive output of fishes is often used as a measure of the health and productivity of a given population. This measure may be of particular importance when habitat is altered in some way. Artificial reefs may provide new space for fishes to inhabit, but it is unclear whether fishes reproduce at the same rate on natural and artificial reefs. We tested whether the overall reproductive output on a large artificial reef was similar to nearby natural reefs using three of the most abundant species on rocky reefs in the Southern California Bight (California sheephead, kelp bass and senorita). Fish were collected during their reproductive season and we measured a range of reproductive parameters, including batch fecundity, spawning frequency and the length of the spawning season using visual assessments, gonad histology and egg counts. While there was some variation in the specific measures, our estimates of reproductive output for each of the three species were similar across all of the reefs. These results, along with additional estimates of overall reef productivity, suggest that artificial reefs have the potential to mitigate damages incurred to natural reefs and give us additional insight into the reproductive ecology of these ecologically important species.