Abundance of estuarine crab larvae is associated with tidal hydrologic variables
Abundances of brachyuran megalopae and juveniles were measured throughout consecutive tidal cycles during six 2 to 3 d sampling periods in summer 1992, and associated with rates of change of tidal hydrologic variables in the Newport River Estuary. Current speeds and rates of pressure change fitted sinusoidal (tidal) models well; however, rates of salinity and temperature change did not. Analysis of plankton samples taken during spring and neap tides showed peak abundances during nighttime rising tides for all taxonomic groups: Callinectes sapidus, Uca spp., Xanthidae, and Pinnixa spp. megalopae, and Pinnotheres spp. juveniles. Megalopal and juvenile abundances from time-intensive sampling were related to rates of changes in the hydrologic variables using stepwise logistic regression. No hydrologic variable accounted well for the presence of Uca spp. megalopae. Megalopal presence was best predicted by current speed for Pinnixa spp. megalopae, and rates of changes in pressure for xanthid megalopae and Pinnotheres spp. juveniles, and salinity for C. sapidus megalopae. These variables might act as cues causing megalopae to ascend into the water column at a particular point in the flooding tide, and subsequently descend to or near the bottom prior to ebb flow. In this way, larvae which develop on the continental shelf or lower estuary undergo transport up the estuary by behaviorally altering their swimming activity and depth concurrent with tidal changes. © 1994 Springer-Verlag.
DeVries, MC; Tankersley, RA; Forward, RB; Kirby-Smith, WW; Luettich, RA
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