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Egg Deposition by Atlantic Silverside, Menidia menidia: Substrate Utilization and Comparison of Natural and Altered Shoreline Type

Abstract

Egg deposition by the intertidal spawning fish Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia) was compared among six shoreline types (Spartina alterniflora, Phragmites australis, sandy beach, riprap, riprap-sill, and bulkhead) and various substrates. In spring 2010, M. menidia egg density was measured daily near Roosevelt Inlet, Delaware Bay, USA. Over 3,000,000 eggs were collected during 50 sampling days. Eggs were deposited at all six shoreline types, with >93 % of eggs collected from S. alterniflora shorelines. Choice of substrate for egg attachment was similar across shoreline types with >91 % of eggs collected from filaments of the green alga Enteromorpha spp., a disproportionately high utilization rate in comparison with Enteromorpha spp.'s relative coverage. This study demonstrates that S. alterniflora shoreline, in association with Enteromorpha spp., is the preferred spawning habitat for M. menidia and that hardened shorelines and shorelines inhabited by P. australis support substantially reduced egg densities.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank Adriana Aruajo and Benjamin Ciotti for field assistance. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Patrick Gaffney for help with statistical analysis. This research was supported by NOAA, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research (award number NA09NOS4780219) to T.E. Targett.

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Correspondence to Richard G. Balouskus.

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Balouskus, R.G., Targett, T.E. Egg Deposition by Atlantic Silverside, Menidia menidia: Substrate Utilization and Comparison of Natural and Altered Shoreline Type. Estuaries and Coasts 35, 1100–1109 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-012-9495-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-012-9495-x

Keywords

  • Intertidal
  • Spawning
  • Eggs
  • Menidia
  • Spartina
  • Enteromorpha