Habitat use, movement, and growth of young-of-the-year Fundulus spp. in southern New Jersey salt marshes: Comparisons based on tag/recapture

Kenneth W. Able, Stacy M. Hagan, Steven A. Brown

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41 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined habitat use, movement, and growth of young-of-the-year (YOY) Fundulus heteroclitus and Fundulus luciae with a tag/recapture experiment in tide-dominated salt marshes to determine if movements from Spartina marsh surface can account for the occurrence of larger, older individuals in other habitats. Evaluation of the tagging techniques in laboratory experiments with YOY F. heteroclitus (15-35 mm TL) found that coded wire tags were retained at least up to 77 days. The high rates of recapture in the field also indicate that the tagging approach generally worked well. Of a total of 5748 YOY F. heteroclitus (14-40 mm TL) and 133 YOY F. luciae (17-40 mm TL) tagged, 56.0% and 74.4% were recaptured, respectively. Most (44%) YOY F. heteroclitus recaptured occurred at or near (0-5 m) the release site, but some were captured up to 299 m away up to 166 days after tagging. By comparison, movement of F. luciae was very limited, with 99% of recaptures occurring at the exact site of release after up to 66 days at liberty. These different movement patterns by YOY Fundulus indicate that species-specific behavior plays an important role in habitat selection. In addition, it appears that dispersal of YOY F. heteroclitus can help to explain the occurrence of larger individuals of this species in Phragmites-dominated marshes even though there is little evidence of use of this habitat by small YOY.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume335
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 8 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

Keywords

  • Fish
  • Fundulus
  • Growth
  • Habitat
  • Movement
  • Phragmites
  • Salt marsh
  • Young-of-the-year

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