Geographic variability in salt marsh flooding patterns may affect nursery value for fishery species

Minello, Thomas J., Rozas, Lawrence P., and Baker, Ronald (2012) Geographic variability in salt marsh flooding patterns may affect nursery value for fishery species. Estuaries and Coasts, 35 (2). pp. 501-514.

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Flooding of salt marshes controls access to the marsh surface for aquatic organisms and likely regulates the value and use of this habitat for juvenile fishery species. We examined geographic variability in marsh access by measuring tidal flooding characteristics in 15 Spartina alterniflora marshes in the southeastern US between South Texas and lower Chesapeake Bay. Flooding duration and flooding frequency were correlated with the elevation of the marsh edge in relation to mean low water and with the tidal range. Mean annual flooding duration over the years 2006–2008 was highest in Texas (91.5% in Aransas Bay) and North Carolina (89.3% in Pamlico Sound) and lowest in Timbalier Bay, LA (54%) and the lower Carolinas and Georgia (55–57%). We used published data on densities of blue crabs and penaeid shrimps as a measure of habitat selection, and there was a positive relationship between marsh selection and flooding duration.

Item ID: 34389
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1559-2731
Keywords: blue crab, nekton, penaeid shrimp, Spartina alterniflora, tidal hydrology
Funders: National Research Council Research Associateship Award, Southeast Regional Habitat Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2014 06:14
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830205 Wild Caught Prawns @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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