FISH ASSEMBLAGE STRUCTURE IN MARYLAND'S COASTAL LAGOON COMPLEX
Secor, David H
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Fish assemblage structure of Maryland's coastal lagoon complex was analyzed for spatial and seasonal patterns for the period 1991-2000. Non-metric multidimensional scaling ordinated sites from Maryland's state trawl and seine surveys into discrete groups associated with each embayment. Dominant species from both surveys included <i>Callinectes sapidus</i>, <i>Anchoa mitchilli</i>, <i>Leiostomous xanthurus</i>, <i>Bairdiella chrysoura</i>, and <i>Brevoortia tyrannus</i>. One hundred two species were identified in the surveys, with total species richness highest in Chincoteague and lowest in Assawoman and Sinepuxent. The seine survey had the lowest catch-per-site in Chincoteague Bay while the other three embayments were of similar magnitude. The trawl survey had the lowest catch-per-site in Sinepuxent Bay (3,079) and the highest in Assawoman Bay (27,146). There was clear seasonality in assemblage structure with peak abundance and diversity in the summer compared to other seasons. Factors influencing the structure of Maryland's coastal lagoon complex included proximity to oceanic exchange and trophic status.