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Estuaries

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 36–43 | Cite as

Use of tidal freshwater marshes by fishes and macrofaunal crustaceans along a marsh stream-order gradient

  • Lawrence P. Rozas
  • William E. Odum
Article

Abstract

Fishes and invertebrate macrofauna (nekton) were sampled biweekly (July through October 1985) from the surface of tidal freshwater marshes. Samples were collected with flume nets at three different stream orders (orders 2, 3 and 4+) along a marsh stream order gradient. Twenty-five species of fishes (5,610 individuals, 17.072 kg preserved wet weight) representing 13 families, and three species of invertebrates (19,570 individuals, 13.026 kg preserved wet weight) were collected. The most abundant species were grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio), mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus), banded killifish (F. diaphanus), inland silversides (Menidia beryllina), and blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus). Invertebrate catches (mostly grass shrimp and blue crabs) were not significantly different among stations. Total numbers of fishes were significantly greater at both headwater (order 2) and main creek (order 3) stations than river (order 4+) stations, but catches of headwater and main creek stations were not significantly different. The relationship between marsh stream order and fish abundance may partly be related to the distribution of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) within marsh tidal creeks. Submerged aquatic vegetation decreases in abundance with increasing stream order. Some species may use SAV as a refuge from predators or as a foraging area during low tide when the marsh surface is inaccessible. The presence of SAV in tidal creeks may enhance the habitat value of adjacent marshes.

Keywords

Salt Marsh Blue Crab Tidal Creek Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Stream Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence P. Rozas
    • 1
  • William E. Odum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesville

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