To assess the potential for habitat isolation effects on estuarine nekton, we used two species with different dispersal abilities and life history strategies, mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) and pinfish (Lagodon rhomboïdes) to examine: (1) distribution trends among estuarine shallow-water flat and various intertidal salt marsh habitats and (2) the influence of salt marsh habitat size and isolation. Collections were conducted using baited minnow traps set within nonisolated interior marshes (interior), nonisolated fringing marshes (nonisolated), isolated island marshes (isolated), and shallow-water flat habitats (flat) that were adjacent to isolated and nonisolated marshes. Size range of individuals collected included juvenile and adult F. heteroclitus (20-82-mm standard length) and L. rhomboïdes (22-151-mm standard length). During high tide, F. heteroclitus exclusively used marsh habitats, particularly high marsh, whereas L. rhomboïdes used marshes and flats. F. heteroclitus abundance followed an interior> nonisolated> isolated pattern. L. rhomboïdes abundance patterns were less consistent but followed a nonisolated> isolated> interior pattern. A size-dependent water depth relationship was observed for both species and suggests size class partitioning of marsh and flat habitats during high tide. Minimum water depth (~31 cm) restricted L. rhomboïdes populations in marshes, while maximum water depth (~69 cm) restricted F. heteroclitus population use of marshes and movement between marsh habitats. Disparities in F. heteroclitus young of year contribution between isolated compared to nonisolated and interior marsh types suggests isolated marshes acted as population sinks and were dependent on adult emigrants. Resident and transient salt marsh nekton species utilize estuarine habitats in different ways and these fundamental differences can translate into how estuarine landscape might affect nekton.
Estuaries & Coasts is the journal of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Begun in 1977 as Chesapeake Science, the journal has gradually expanded its scope and circulation. Today, the journal publishes manuscripts covering aspects of research on physical, chemical, geological or biological systems, as well as management of those systems, at the interface between the land and the sea. The interface is broadly defined to include areas within estuaries, lagoons, wetlands, tidal rivers, watersheds that include estuaries, and near-shore coastal waters. The journal publishes original research findings, reviews, techniques, and comments.
The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, nonprofit non partisan organization. The Federation was created in 1971, when the members of two older, regionally-based estuarine research societies (AERS and NEERS) decided that a national organization was needed to address estuarine and coastal issues more broadly. The regionally based Affiliate Societies now number seven and encompass all of the coastal regions that border the United States, Canada and Mexico.