Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 91–102 | Cite as

Dynamics of residency and egress in selected estuarine fishes: evidence from acoustic telemetry

  • Kenneth W. AbleEmail author
  • Thomas M. Grothues
  • Jason T. Turnure
  • Margaret A. Malone
  • Gregory A. Henkes


In an attempt to determine the extent and periodicity of several large juvenile and adult fishes (smooth dogfish Mustelus canis, black drum Pogonias cromis, hickory shad Alosa mediocris) in a temperate estuary, we tracked acoustically tagged individuals with passive and active telemetry techniques during the summer, fall and winter. This approach confirmed summer residency for all of these species and species-specific and individual patterns of egress ranging from summer through fall. Other species (striped bass Morone saxatilis, summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus, bluefish Pomatomus saltatrix) that were previously tracked in the same estuary with the same techniques were reanalyzed for the same characteristics. There were species-specific and individual differences in residency and egress of these species as well, but all species left the estuary by the end of December. Together, these observations confirm the importance of temperate estuaries in the summer and fall, but not during the winter for the juveniles and adults of these migratory species. However, the duration of residency and timing of egress may vary if warming of estuarine waters continues.


Fishes Residency Egress Estuary Telemetry Seasonality 



We are grateful to R. Hagan, T. Malatesta, S. Ordog, C. Kennedy, J. Hoffman, P. Clerkin, D. Messerschmid, and L. Webb for help with field work and logistics. Volunteers R. Zaengle and K. Mancini assisted in maintaining the integrity of the data as well as tracking efforts, and C. Van Pelt and J. Rackovan assisted with manuscript preparation. We also thank G. Sakowicz for maintaining and providing environmental data from the System-Wide Monitoring Program. This research was supported by awards to the authors from the Estuarine Reserves Division, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Rutgers University Marine Field Station/Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences. M. Malone and G. Henkes were supported by a National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Undergraduates award through the Rutgers Internships in Ocean Sciences (RIOS) program. This is contribution No. 2013-3 of the Rutgers University Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences.


  1. Able KW, Fahay MP (2010) Ecology of estuarine fishes: temperate waters of the western north Atlantic. John Hopkins Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  2. Able KW, Grothues TM (2007) Diversity of estuarine movements of striped bass (Morone saxatilis): a synoptic examination of an estuarine system in southern New Jersey. Fish Bull 105:426–435Google Scholar
  3. Able KW, Witting DA, McBride RS, Rountree RA, Smith KJ (1996) Fishes of polyhaline estuarine shores in Great Bay–Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey: a case study of seasonal and habitat influences. In: Nordstrom KF, Roman CT (eds) Estuarine shores: evolution, environments and human alterations. John Wiley & Sons, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  4. Able KW, Dobarro J, Muzeni-Corino AM (2010) An evaluation of boat basin dredging effects: response of fishes and crabs in a New Jersey estuary. N Am J Fish Manag 30:1001–1015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aieta AE, Oliveira K (2009) Distribution, prevalence, and intensity of the swim bladder parasite Anguillicola crassus in New England and eastern Canada. Dis Aquat Org 84:229–235PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bain MB (2005) Electronic tags. In: Cadrin SX, Friedland KD, Waldman JR (eds) Stock identification methods: applications in fishery science. Elsevier Academic Press, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  7. Baker R, Sheaves M (2005) Redefining the piscivore assemblage of shallow estuarine nursery habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 291:197–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Balbontin J, Pape Moller A, Hermosell IG, Marzal A, Reviriego M, de Lope F (2009) Individual responses in spring arrival date to ecological conditions during winter migration in a migratory bird. J Anim Ecol 78:981–989PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barse AM, Secor DH (1999) An exotic nematode parasite of the American eel. Fish 24:6–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barse AM, McGuire SA, Vinores MA, Eierman LE, Weeder JA (2001) The swimbladder parasite nematode Anguillicola crassus in American eels (Anguilla rostrata) from middle and upper regions of Chesapeake Bay. J Parasitol 87:1366–1370PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Block BA, Jonsen ID, Jorgensen SJ, Winship AJ, Shaffer SA, Bograd SJ, Hazen EL, Foley DG, Breed GA, Harrison AL, Ganong JE, Swithenbank A, Castelton M, Dewar H, Mate BR, Shillinger GL, Schaefer KM, Benson SR, Weise MJ, Henry RW, Costa DP (2011) Tracking apex marine predator movements in a dynamic ocean. Nature 475:86–90PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burreson EM, Zwerner DE (1984) Juvenile summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus, mortalities in the western Atlantic Ocean caused by the hemoflagellate Trypanoplasma bullocki: evidence from field and experimental studies. Helgol Meeresun 37:343–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Collette BB, Klein-MacPhee G (eds) (2002) Bigelow and Schroeder’s fishes of the Gulf of Maine, 3rd edn. Smithsonian Institution Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  14. Conrath CL, Musick JA (2002) Reproductive biology of the smooth dogfish, Mustelus canis, in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Environ Biol Fish 64:367–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeCelles GR, Cadrin SX (2010) Movement patterns of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) in the southern Gulf of Maine: observations with the use of passive acoustic telemetry. Fish Bull 108:408–419Google Scholar
  16. Elliott M, Hemingway KL (2002) Fishes in estuaries. Blackwell Science Ltd., LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Good RE, Good NF (1984) The Pinelands National Reserve: an ecosystem approach to management. BioScience 34(3):169–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Grothues TM, Able KW (2007) Scaling acoustic telemetry of bluefish in an estuarine observatory: detection and habitat use patterns. Trans Am Fish Soc 136:1511–1519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grothues TM, Able KW, McDonnell J, Sisak MM (2005) An estuarine observatory for real-time telemetry of migrant macrofauna: design, performance, and constraints. Limnol Oceanogr Methods 3:275–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grothues TM, Able KW, Carter J, Arienti TW (2009) Migration patterns of striped bass through nonnatal estuaries of the U.S. Atlantic coast. In: Haro AJ, Smith KL, Rulifson RA, Moffitt CM, Klauda RJ, Dadswell MJ, Cunjak RA, Cooper JE, Beal KL, Avery TS (eds) Challenges for diadromous fishes in a dynamic global environment. Am Fish Soc Symp 69, Bethesda, MDGoogle Scholar
  21. Hare JA, Able KW (2007) Mechanistic links between climate and fisheries along the east coast of the United States: explaining population outbursts of Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus). Fish Oceanogr 16(1):31–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hedenstrom A, Barta Z, Helm B, Houston AI, McNamara JM, Jonzen N (2007) Migration speed and scheduling of annual events by migrating birds in relation to climate change. Clim Res 35:79–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Henningsen AD (2005) Tonic immobility in 12 elasmobranchs: use as an aid in captive husbandry. Zoo Biol 13(4):1098–2361Google Scholar
  24. Heupel MR (2007) Exiting Terra Ceia Bay: an examination of cues stimulating migration from a summer nursery area. In: McCandless CT, Kohler NE, Pratt Jr. HL (eds) Am Fish Soc Symp 50, Bethesda, MDGoogle Scholar
  25. Heupel MR, Carlson JK, Simpfendorfer CA (2007) Shark nursery areas: concepts, definition, characterization and assumptions. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 337:287–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hildebrand SF (1963) Part 3. Family Clupeidae. In: Olsen YH (ed) Fishes of the western North Atlantic. Sears Found Mar Res, Yale University, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  27. Joseph EB, Massmann WH, Norcross JJ (1964) The pelagic eggs and early larval stages of the black drum from Chesapeake Bay. Copeia 2:425–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kennish MJ (2001) The scientific characterization of the Barnegat Bay–Little Egg Harbor estuary and watershed. Inst Mar Coast Sci, Rutgers University, New BrunswickGoogle Scholar
  29. Kennish MJ (2004) Estuarine research, monitoring, and resource protection. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  30. Kennish MJ, O’Donnell S (2002) Water quality monitoring in the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Bull N J Acad Sci 47(2):1–14Google Scholar
  31. Ng CL, Able KW, Grothues TM (2007) Habitat use, site fidelity, and movement of adult striped bass in a southern New Jersey estuary based on mobile acoustic telemetry. Trans Am Fish Soc 136:1344–1355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nielson JL, Arrizabalaga H, Fragoso N, Hobday A, Lutcavage M, Sibert J (2009) Tagging and tracking of marine animals with electronic devices. Springer, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Olney JE, Latour RJ, Watkins BE, Clarke DG (2006) Migratory behavior of American shad in the York River, Virginia, with implications for estimating in-river exploitation from tag recovery data. Trans Am Fish Soc 135:889–896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Popper A (2003) Effects of anthropogenic sounds on fishes. Fish 28(10):24–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rasmussen JE, Belk MC (2012) Dispersal behavior correlates with personality of a North American fish. Curr Zool 58(2):260–270Google Scholar
  36. Rountree RA, Able KW (1993) Diel variation in decapod crustacean and fish assemblages in New Jersey polyhaline marsh creeks. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 37:181–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rountree RA, Able KW (1996) Seasonal abundance, growth, and foraging habits of juvenile smooth dogfish, Mustelus canis, in a New Jersey estuary. Fish Bull 94:522–534Google Scholar
  38. Rountree RA, Able KW (1997) Nocturnal fish use of New Jersey marsh creek and adjacent bay shoal habitats. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 44:703–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sackett DK, Able KW, Grothues TM (2007) Dynamics of summer flounder, Paralichthys dentatus, seasonal migrations based on ultrasonic telemetry. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 74:119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sagarese SR, Frisk MG (2011) Movement patterns and residence of adult winter flounder within a Long Island estuary. Mar Coast Fish Dynam Manag Ecosys Sci 3:295–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sheaves M (2001) Are there really few piscivorous fishes in shallow estuarine habitats? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 222:279–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sibert JR, Nielson JL (2001) Electronic tagging and tracking in marine fisheries. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith HM (1907) The fishes of North Carolina. NC Geol Econ Surv Vol. II, RaleighGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith JM, Mather ME, Frank HJ, Muth RM, Finn JT, McCormick SD (2009) Evaluation of a gastric radio tag insertion technique for anadromous river herring. N Am J Fish Manag 29:367–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tottrup AP, Thorup K, Rahbek C (2006) Changes in timing of autumn migration in North European songbird populations. Ardea 94(3):527–536Google Scholar
  46. Turnure JT (2010) Estuarine habitat ecology of adult weakfish (Cynoscion regalis): a multi-scale approach. Master’s Thesis, Rutgers UniversityGoogle Scholar
  47. Whitfield AK (1998) Biology and ecology of fishes in southern African estuaries. Ichthyological monographs of the J. L. B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology No. 2. J. L. B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, GrahamstownGoogle Scholar
  48. Wuenschel M, Jugovich A, Hare J (2005) Metabolic response of juvenile gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) to temperature and salinity: physiological cost of different environments. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 321:145–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth W. Able
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thomas M. Grothues
    • 1
  • Jason T. Turnure
    • 1
  • Margaret A. Malone
    • 2
  • Gregory A. Henkes
    • 3
  1. 1.Marine Field Station, Institute of Marine and Coastal SciencesRutgers UniversityTuckertonUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Planetary ScienceThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations