Age validation and seasonal growth patterns of a subtropical marsh fish: The Gulf Killifish, Fundulus grandis

  • Anthony R. Vastano
  • Kenneth W. Able
  • Olaf P. Jensen
  • Paola C. López-Duarte
  • Charles W. Martin
  • Brian J. Roberts
Article

Abstract

Fundulus grandis (Baird and Girard), the Gulf Killifish, is an abundant species throughout the marshes of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Its wide distribution and high site fidelity makes it an ideal indicator species for brackish and salt marshes, which experience a variety of anthropogenic disturbances. Despite the ecological, commercial, and scientific importance of F. grandis, age determination methods have not been validated and little is known of its growth pattern. By combining a tag-recapture study with a chemical marker to stain otoliths, we validated an ageing method for F. grandis adults (49–128 mm TL) using whole sagittal otoliths and determined growth rates of recaptured individuals in winter (n = 58) and summer (n = 36) in Louisiana. Mean somatic growth in length was significantly greater during the winter (0.085 mm d−1) than summer (0.054 mm d−1). In contrast, mean otolith growth was significantly greater in summer (1.37 μm d−1) than winter (0.826 μm d−1). The uncoupling of somatic and otolith growth may be primarily attributed to warm summer temperatures, which led to enhanced otolith growth while simultaneously reducing somatic growth. Fundulus grandis was aged to a maximum of 2.25 years. The parameters of the von Bertalanffy growth model were estimated as: L = 87.27 mm, k = 2.43 year−1, and t0 = −0.022. These findings reveal essential age and growth information for F. grandis and provide a benchmark to evaluate responses to environmental disturbances.

Keywords

Marsh fish Otoliths Age validation von Bertalanffy Gulf of Mexico 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony R. Vastano
    • 1
  • Kenneth W. Able
    • 2
  • Olaf P. Jensen
    • 1
  • Paola C. López-Duarte
    • 2
  • Charles W. Martin
    • 3
  • Brian J. Roberts
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Marine and Coastal SciencesRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Rutgers University Marine Field Station, Rutgers UniversityTuckertonUSA
  3. 3.UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological StationUniversity of FloridaCedar KeyUSA
  4. 4.Louisiana Universities Marine ConsortiumChauvinUSA

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