Endogenous swimming rhythms of larval atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus latrobe: Implications for vertical migration
Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus Latrobe, spawn on the continental shelf, Larvae are transported shoreward where they enter estuaries and metamorphose. Field studies suggest that while offshore, larvae may undergo nocturnal diel vertical migration (DVM), in which they are near the surface during the night and at depth during the day. The DVM pattern is more pronounced in estuaries but the timing of the nocturnal ascent may be related to tides, Larvae appear to swim in the water column during nocturnal rising tide and are less abundant at all other times. This migration pattern would result in up-estuary movement by selective tidal stream transport. The present study measured endogenous swimming rhythms of Atlantic menhaden larvae and related them to possible vertical migration patterns in offshore and estuarine areas. Larvae reared in the laboratory on a diel light:dark cycle were measured at three sizes (7-9 min. 14-17 nlra and 23-27 mm total length [TL]) as representative of larvae in offshore areas, while estuarine larvae (25-311 mm TL) were collected in the Newport River Estuary (N.C.), Swimming was monitored in a column under constant conditions in the laboratory with a time lapse video system. In all cases, Larvae had a similar circadian rhythm. The smallest laboratory reared larvae ascended into the upper portion of the column during the time of night and descended during the time of day. The other laboratory reared and field caught larvae had increased swimming activity during the time of night and reduced activity during the time of day. Thin circadian activity rhythm would contribute to the nocturnal DVM in offshore and estuarine areas. However, there was no evidence that larvae developed a tidal rhythm in activity that could contribute to selective tidal stream transport in estuaries.
Forward, RB; Tankersley, RA; Burke, JS
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