Vegetation Effects on Fish Distribution in Impounded Salt Marshes

Stolen, Eric D. and Collazo, Jaime A. and Percival, H. Franklin (2009) Vegetation Effects on Fish Distribution in Impounded Salt Marshes. Southeastern Naturalist, 8(3), pp. 503-514.

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Abstract

We compared the density and biomass of resident fish in vegetated and unvegetated flooded habitats of impounded salt marshes in the northern Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Estuary of east-central Florida. A 1-m2 throw trap was used to sample fish in randomly located, paired sample plots (n = 198 pairs) over 5 seasons in 7 impoundments. We collected a total of 15 fish taxa, and 88% of the fishes we identified from the samples belonged to three species: Cyprinodon variegatus (Sheepshead Minnow), Gambusia holbrooki (Eastern Mosquitofish), and Poecilia latipinna (Sailfin Molly). Vegetated habitat usually had higher density and biomass of fish. Mean fish density (and 95% confidence interval) for vegetated and unvegetated sites were 8.2 (6.7–9.9) and 2.0 (1.6–2.4) individuals m-2, respectively; mean biomass (and 95% confidence interval) for vegetated and unvegetated sites were 3.0 (2.5–3.7) and 1.1 (0.9–1.4) g m-2, respectively. We confirmed previous findings that impounded salt marshes of the northern IRL Estuary produce a high standing stock of resident fishes. Seasonal patterns of abundance were consistent with fish moving between vegetated and unvegetated habitat as water levels changed in the estuary. Differences in density, mean size, and species composition of resident fishes between vegetated and unvegetated habitats have important implications for movement of biomass and nutrients out of salt marsh by piscivores (e.g., wading birds and fishes) via a trophic relay.

Item Type: Article
Title: Vegetation Effects on Fish Distribution in Impounded Salt Marshes
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Stolen, Eric D.
Collazo, Jaime A.
Percival, H. Franklin
Journal or Publication Title: Southeastern Naturalist
Volume: 8
Number: 3
Page Range: pp. 503-514
Date: 2009
ISSN: 1528-7092
Issuing Agency: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Additional Information: This document was submitted by the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Uncontrolled Keywords: Indian River Lagoon, Florida, fish biomass, vegetation, salt marshes
Subjects: Biology
Ecology
Item ID: 5591
Depositing User: Stephanie Haas
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2011 14:01
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 14:46
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/5591

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