Habitat preference of the Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) in the San Juan Channel in the fall: 2014 season and interannual comparison 2012-2014
Previous studies have found that the Pacific Sand Lance prefer to bury into sediment that is mainly composed of coarse sand and low gravel. This study explored whether that was the case for sand lance buried in the sand wave field in the San Juan Channel in fall 2014. This study also investigated trends and correlations between fish size and sediment composition and compared these results to data from fall 2012 and fall 2013 in the sand wave field. Results showed no strong relationship between fork length and sediment size but did find large fish (110mm and larger) were found in areas of very high coarse sand and low gravel, which contrasted results found in 2012. Although this research was not able to definitively associate size of fish with age, this suggests that larger fish, as a group, are using and responding to benthic habitat in ways that are common among that group but distinct from smaller/younger fish.