Dynamics of ingress, hatch dates, growth, and feeding of Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus, larvae at the Chesapeake Bay mouth
Houde, Edward D
MetadataShow full item record
Recruitment of Atlantic menhaden to Chesapeake Bay declined in the late 1980s. Although reasons are not understood, a decline in larval supply to the Bay is one hypothesized explanation. The objective of this thesis was to evaluate levels and variability in larval ingress by conducting 18 ichthyoplankton cruises at the Bay mouth during three years at monthly intervals from fall through spring (2005-06, 2006-07, and 2007-08). The concentrations of ingressing larvae were estimated for each year and also for months within each year. Larval spatial and temporal distributions at the Bay mouth were evaluated with respect to tides and day-night differences. Age, growth rates and hatch dates were determined from otolith-aged larvae and compared among years and months. Larvae were most abundant in 2007-08, but grew fastest in 2006-07. Most ingressing larvae hatched in the November to December period. Copepods were the dominant prey in diets of larval menhaden.