Striped Bass Habitat

Suitability Index

Quick Summary

We use the dissolved-oxygen concentration and water temperature from the forecast model to calculate a metric called a Habitat Suitability Index, which estimates if the habitat is suitable for striped bass. If the dissolved oxygen concentration is too low, or the water is too warm or too cold, the water is unsuitable for striped bass. The Habitat Suitability Index ranges from 1.0 (very favorable habitat) to 0 (striped bass will very likely not be present in the area). The maps below show how the estimated Habitat Suitability Index varies throughout the Bay, while vertical profiles show how the Habitat Suitability Index, water temperature, and dissolved-oxygen concentration vary with depth below the water surface. At the end of the page we explain how the Striped Bass Habitat Suitability Index is calculated.

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How we calculate Suitability Index

The Striped Bass Habitat Suitability Index is calculated using the dissolved oxygen concentration and water temperature from the forecast model. One Habitat Suitability Index is calculated using only the dissolved oxygen concentration and another Habitat Suitability Index is calculated using only the water temperature. Each of these indices range from 1.0 (very good habitat) to 0.0 (very poor habitat). The final Habitat Suitability Index is the lower of the dissolved oxygen concentration and water temperature indices. That is, if the index based on dissolved oxygen concentration is 0.4 and the index based on water temperature is 0.6, the Striped Bass Habitat Suitability Index is 0.4 (the lower of 0.4 and 0.6).

The image below shows how the index relates to dissolved oxygen concentration and water temperature. For example, a dissolved oxygen concentration of 3 mg/L equates to an index of about 0.2. Dissolved oxygen concentrations less than 1 mg/L equate to an index of 0.0, while dissolved oxygen concentrations greater than 10 mg/L equate to an index of 1.0. For water temperature, 55º F equates to an index of about 0.7. Water temperatures below 50º F and above 81º F equate to an index of 0.0, while temperatures of 57º F to 70º F equate to an index of 1.0.

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