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Old 01-04-2010, 11:42 AM
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Default The influence of episodic events on transport of striped bass eggs to the estuarine turbidity maximu

The influence of episodic events on transport of striped bass eggs to the estuarine turbidity maximum nursery area

NORTH E. W. (1) ; HOOD R. R. (1) ; CHAO S.-Y. (1) ; SANFORD L. P. (1) ;
Author(s) Affiliation(s)

(1) University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point Laboratory, P. O. Box 775, Cambridge, Maryland 21613, ETATS-UNIS


The estuarine turbidity maximum (ETM) is an important nursery area for anadromous fish where early-life stages can be retained in high prey concentrations and favorable salinities. Episodic freshwater flow and wind events could influence the transport of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) eggs to the ETM. This hypothesis was evaluated with regression analysis of observational data and with a coupled biological-physical model of a semi-idealized upper Chesapeake Bay driven by observed wind and freshwater flow. A particle-tracking model was constructed within a numerical circulation model (Princeton Ocean Model) to simulate the transport of fish eggs in a 3-dimensional flow field. Particles with the sinking speed of striped bass eggs were released up-estuary of the salt front in both 2-d event-scale and 60-d seasonal-scale scenarios. In event scenarios, egg-like particles with observed specific gravities (densities) of striped bass eggs were transported to the optimum ETM nursery area after 2 d, the striped bass egg-stage duration. Wind events and pulses in river discharge decreased the number of egg-like particles transported to the ETM area by 20.9% and 13.2%, respectively, compared to nonevent conditions. In seasonal scenarios, particle delivery to the ETM depended upon the timing of the release of egg-like particles. The number of particles transported to the ETM area decreased when particles were released before and during wind and river pulse events. Particle delivery to the ETM area was enhanced when the salt front was moving up-estuary after river pulse events and as base river flow receded over the spawning season. Model results suggest that the timing of striped bass spawning in relation to pulsed events may have a negative (before or during events) or positive (after river flow events) effect on egg transport. Spawning after river flow events may promote early-stage survival by taking advantage of improved transport, enhanced turbidity refuge, and elevated prey production that may occur after river pulse events. In multiple regression analysis of observed data, mean spring freshwater flow rates and the number of pulsed freshwater flow events during the striped bass spawning season explained 71% of the variability in striped bass juvenile abundance in upper Chesapeake Bay from 1986 to 2002. Positive parameter estimates for these effects support the hypothesis that pulsed freshwater flow events, coupled with spawning after the events, may enhance striped bass early-stage survival. Results suggest that episodic events may have an important role in controlling fish recruitment.
Journal Title

Estuaries ISSN 0160-8347 CODEN ESTUDO

2005, vol. 28, no1, pp. 108-123 [16 page(s) (article)] (1 p.3/4)
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