An RNA:DNA-based index of growth in juvenile Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus): laboratory calibration and field assessment
Edwards, Jason Lee
Miller, Thomas J
MetadataShow full item record
Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) is an ecologically and economically important species in the mid-Atlantic coastal ecosystem. Its population dynamics are influenced by growth and survival during juvenile occupancy in estuarine nursery habitats. Therefore, quantifying production of potential nursery areas is important to understanding population processes and defining essential fish habitat for this species. Based on laboratory growth experiments, an RNA:DNA-based growth model was developed for young-of-the-year menhaden. The temporal response of RNA:DNA to changes in feeding condition was also quantified in the laboratory. Results of these investigations indicate RNA:DNA as a reliable tool for estimating recent growth and condition in relation to habitat residency. RNA:DNA-based estimates of growth were combined with site-specific abundance estimates to evaluate the spatiotemporal variability in production of potential menhaden nursery habitats. Site-specific production estimates exhibited high spatiotemporal variability suggesting menhaden utilize a mosaic of habitats to promote production, rather than specific sites consistently generating high levels of production.