Spatial and temporal patterns in the distribution and feeding habits of Morone saxatilis in marsh creeks of Delaware Bay, USA

D. M. Nemerson, Kenneth Able

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Delaware River and Bay Morone saxatilis (Walbaum), striped bass, have recently undergone a dramatic recovery. Here, we examine spatio-temporal patterns in the distribution and food habits of striped bass in marsh creeks in the estuary (salinity range 1-20 psu), 1996-2000. Sampling occurred monthly, April through November, with otter trawls (4.9 m, 6 mm mesh, n = 6760) and weirs (intertidal block nets, 6 mm mesh, n = 647) at eight sites. Young-of-the-year (YOY) fish were generally more than 10 times more abundant at oligohaline sites, although they were abundant at mesohaline sites in 1996, the lowest salinity year. Small striped bass ( < 100 mm) in creeks relied on mysids and other crustaceans and became more piscivorous with size. Overall, they consumed 46% by weight fish, of which 52% were mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus (L.), and 18% were YOY Atlantic croaker, Micropogonias undulatus (L.), prey types which are not typical in most food habits studies and are indicative of feeding in marsh creeks. These data suggest that young striped bass are an abundant component of Delaware Bay marsh creek fauna and may play an important role in trophic relays within this system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-348
Number of pages12
JournalFisheries Management and Ecology
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

Keywords

  • Delaware Bay
  • Distribution and abundance
  • Food habits
  • Marsh creeks
  • Morone saxatilis
  • Striped bass

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