Title

Growth Rate Differences Amongst Leiostomus xanthurus Between Varying Estuarine Creeks

Poster Number

36

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Stacy Luthy

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal area where freshwater and saltwater blend. In the past, research has shown that certain areas within estuaries, such as wetlands and seagrass meadows, have been identified as fish nurseries. An area is considered to be a nursery if it contributes “higher density, survival, growth, and movement to adult habitat”. The purpose of this study was to test whether there were differences in nursery habitat quality between closely related intertidal creeks within North Inlet Estuary, SC. Samples of juvenile spot Leiostomus xanthurus were collected from Oyster Landing, Bly Creek, and Old Man, three different creeks within the region that are geographically close in range. Each specimen was dissected in order to isolate the otoliths, specifically the right and left lapilli and sagittae. Otoliths are calcareous, vestibular structures found within the inner ear of bony fish. As the fish grows, rings develop on the otolith, which can be counted to estimate age. In this study, only the left lapillus was subjected to further evaluation. Lengths were measured and ages were estimated via otolith analysis. Growth rates were used as an indicator of nursery quality, with the assumption that a better habitat would support faster growth. Results showed that ages of fish from different creeks were similar; however, their lengths were significantly different. This proves that the growth rates of fish vary between creeks, indicating fine-scale differences in nursery habitat quality within the estuary.

Location

Grave Covell

Start Date

21-4-2012 10:00 AM

End Date

21-4-2012 12:00 PM

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Apr 21st, 10:00 AM Apr 21st, 12:00 PM

Growth Rate Differences Amongst Leiostomus xanthurus Between Varying Estuarine Creeks

Grave Covell

An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal area where freshwater and saltwater blend. In the past, research has shown that certain areas within estuaries, such as wetlands and seagrass meadows, have been identified as fish nurseries. An area is considered to be a nursery if it contributes “higher density, survival, growth, and movement to adult habitat”. The purpose of this study was to test whether there were differences in nursery habitat quality between closely related intertidal creeks within North Inlet Estuary, SC. Samples of juvenile spot Leiostomus xanthurus were collected from Oyster Landing, Bly Creek, and Old Man, three different creeks within the region that are geographically close in range. Each specimen was dissected in order to isolate the otoliths, specifically the right and left lapilli and sagittae. Otoliths are calcareous, vestibular structures found within the inner ear of bony fish. As the fish grows, rings develop on the otolith, which can be counted to estimate age. In this study, only the left lapillus was subjected to further evaluation. Lengths were measured and ages were estimated via otolith analysis. Growth rates were used as an indicator of nursery quality, with the assumption that a better habitat would support faster growth. Results showed that ages of fish from different creeks were similar; however, their lengths were significantly different. This proves that the growth rates of fish vary between creeks, indicating fine-scale differences in nursery habitat quality within the estuary.