Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 98, Issue 10, pp 2083–2092 | Cite as

Testing the thermal-niche oxygen-squeeze hypothesis for estuarine striped bass

  • Richard T. Kraus
  • David H. Secor
  • Rebecca L. Wingate
Article

Abstract

In many stratified coastal ecosystems, conceptual and bioenergetics models predict seasonal reduction in quality and quantity of fish habitat due to high temperatures and hypoxia. We tested these predictions using acoustic telemetry of 2 to 4 kg striped bass (Morone saxatilis Walbaum) and high-resolution spatial water quality sampling in the Patuxent River, a sub-estuary of the Chesapeake Bay, during 2008 and 2009. Striped bass avoided hypoxic (dissolved oxygen ≤2 mg·l−1) subpycnocline waters, but frequently occupied habitats with high temperatures (>25 °C) in the summer months, as cooler habitats were typically not available. Using traditional concepts of the seasonal thermal-niche oxygen-squeeze, most of the Patuxent estuary would be considered unsuitable habitat for adult striped bass during summer. Application of a bioenergetics model revealed that habitats selected by striped bass during summer would support positive growth rates assuming fish could feed at one-half of maximum consumption. Occupancy of the estuary during summer by striped bass in this study was likely facilitated by sufficient prey and innate tolerance of high temperatures by sub-adult fish of the size range that we tagged. Our results help extend the thermal-niche oxygen-squeeze hypothesis to native populations of striped bass in semi-enclosed coastal systems. Tolerance of for supraoptimal temperatures in our study supports recent suggestions by others that the thermal-niche concept for striped bass should be revised to include warmer temperatures.

Keywords

Thermal-niche oxygen-squeeze hypothesis Striped bass habitat Bioenergetics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard T. Kraus
    • 1
  • David H. Secor
    • 2
  • Rebecca L. Wingate
    • 2
  1. 1.US Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center, Lake Erie Biological StationSanduskyUSA
  2. 2.Chesapeake Biological LaboratoryUniversity of Maryland Center for Environmental ScienceSolomonsUSA

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