Ingress of brachyuran crab post-larvae to the newport river estuary
Planktonic larvae of estuarine species often develop in the coastal ocean and return to estuaries using favorable currents. This study investigated spatial distributions of brachyuran crab post-larvae during ingress to the Newport River estuary, North Carolina, USA (34°41' N, 76°40' W). Nearshore plankton tows were conducted across the inlet to the estuary. Settlement on passive 'hog's hair' collectors was simultaneously monitored in each of four estuarine channels. Callinectes sapidus density was highest east of the inlet, whereas relative estuarine abundance was higher in western channels. In separate sampling with collectors at coastal and estuarine locations, spatial distributions of post-larvae were consistent through time but differed for C. sapidus, Uca spp., and Pachygrapsus transversus. The diel timing of C. sapidus settlement on collectors was determined at the coast and compared to previous studies of settlement in the estuary. Behavioral responses to environmental cues may alter transport pathways from those predicted by hydrodynamic models. © 2009 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.
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