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Habitat influences on reproductive allocation and growth of the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) in a coastal salt marsh
Hunter, K.L.; Fox, M.G.; Able, K.W. (2007). Habitat influences on reproductive allocation and growth of the mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) in a coastal salt marsh. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(2): 617-627.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hunter, K.L.
  • Fox, M.G.
  • Able, K.W.

    To determine whether life history differences can occur in salt marsh fishes that occupy different habitats within the same marsh, we compared reproductive allocation in female mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) inhabiting creeks and ponds of a coastal salt marsh in southern New Jersey, USA during the spring and summer of 2001 and 2002. Females were collected in phase with the lunar spawning cycle from four sites of each habitat type, and assessed for gonad-to-body-mass ratio and growth increment. Annual reproductive allocation, expressed as a percent of somatic mass, was estimated for each site and year from the gonadosomatic indices of individuals collected during each spawning period. Mummichogs from creeks showed little change in annual reproductive allocation from 2001 to 2002, whereas those inhabiting ponds showed a significant increase between these years. Seasonal reproductive patterns indicated that pond females cease spawning at least one lunar cycle earlier than creek fish. While ponds experienced considerably higher maximum summer temperatures than creeks as well as near-anoxic pre-dawn conditions, neither of these variables explained a significant amount of variation in annual reproductive allocation. In contrast, annual reproductive allocation of mummichogs in a pond correlated with its flood frequency in both years of study. Our results suggest that while the length of the spawning season differs in mummichogs inhabiting marsh creeks and ponds, annual reproductive allocation depends more upon the hydrodynamic conditions of the particular waterbody than its habitat type per se.

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