Inter-cohort differences in spatial and temporal settlement patterns of young-of-the-year windowpane (Scophthalmus aquosus) in southern New Jersey

M. J. Neuman, K. W. Able

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The timing and location of settlement of two cohorts (spring and fall) of windowpane (Scophthalmus aquosus) were identified based on collections from 64 sampling locations along a corridor from the lower estuary, through the inlet, and on to the adjacent inner continental shelf in southern New Jersey. Spatio-temporal patterns of settlement during 1989-1998 were determined based on capture location and timing, and eye migration stage. Spring-spawned windowpanes were collected in estuarine, inlet and ocean habitats as larvae, during settlement, and after settlement. Densities of spring-spawned larvae (∼2-10mm standard length (SL)) peaked in May in all habitats (estuary, inlet, and ocean). Initial settlement of spring-spawned windowpane occurred during May in the inlet and ocean when fish had grown to ∼7-8 mm SL (mid-point of eye migration), but fish did not appear in demersal estuarine collections until June when they were larger and more developmentally advanced (∼24-32 mm SL; post-eye migration). A transitional settlement period, comprised of a progressive habitat shift from pelagic to demersal habitats, is proposed for the spring cohort to explain the observed patterns. Fall-spawned fish of all developmental stages and sizes were virtually absent from estuarine collections. Fall-spawned larval (∼2-10 mm SL) densities peaked in October in inlet and ocean habitats and fish began settling there during the same month at sizes similar to the spring cohort (∼7-8 mm SL). This research confirms that there are important cohort-specific and life-stage dependent differences in young-of-the-year (YOY) windowpane habitat use in southern New Jersey and perhaps in other east coast US estuaries. These differences may affect the overall contribution that each cohort makes to a given year class and thus, may have an important role in determining the recruitment dynamics of this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-538
Number of pages12
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


  • Early life history
  • Flatfish
  • Multiple cohorts
  • Scophthalmus aquosus
  • Settlement


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