Small, abundant elasmobranchs use shallow marine areas (< 20 m depth) of the US Middle Atlantic coast as nurseries and adult foraging habitat, an area also used by a diverse assemblage of economically important juvenile and adult teleost species. Specimens of three small elasmobranch species (smooth dogfish Mustelus canis, clearnose skate Raja eglanteria, and bullnose ray Myliobatis freminvillii) were collected in August 2007 and 2008 from a study area of ~ 150 km², extending 22 km south from Ocean City, Maryland, USA (38 ° 19' N) and offshore from 5-to 20-m depth. Stomach contents indicated that fish were part of the diets of smooth dogfish and clearnose skate at a level comparable with sympatric piscivorous teleosts. However, stable isotope data suggest that piscivory is likely an opportunistic foraging behavior in this habitat. Studied elasmobranchs were secondary-tertiary consumers with diets composed primarily of decapod crustaceans, fish, and mollusks. There was significant overlap in diet composition, spatial distribution, and diel stomach fullness patterns between clearnose skate, southern kingfish Menticirrhus americanus (teleost) and, to a lesser extent, smooth dogfish. Despite this evidence for piscivory, their relatively low densities suggest that prédation by these elasmobranchs is unlikely to affect teleost populations in shallow coastal ocean habitats. If shared prey were to become scarce, then competitive interactions are possible.
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.