Incorporating habitat into ecosystem-based fisheries management: Habitat matters!
Habitat consists of the physical, chemical, and biological components that are necessary for the survival and growth of organisms in an ecosystem. In an estuary, habitat provides food and shelter for invertebrates, shellfish, and fish. Habitat is an integral part of an ecosystem, and assessing habitats is important in determining ecosystem health. This newsletter describes the steps in determining optimal habitat conditions, discusses the practical reality of measuring habitats in complex ecosystems, and provides an example of a habitat suitability model. This effort was in collaboration with NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office.