Dynamics of larval fish abundance in Penobscot Bay, Maine


Lazzari, Mark A.
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Biweekly ichthyoplankton surveys were conducted in Penobscot Bay, Maine, during the spring and early summer of 1997 and 1998. Larvae from demersal eggs dominated the catch from late winter through spring, but not in early summer collections. Larval fish assemblages varied with temperature, and to a lesser extent, plankton volume, and salinity, among months. Temporal patterns of larval fish abundance corresponded with seasonality of reproduction. Larvae of taxa that spawn from late winter through early spring, such as sculpins (Myoxocephalus spp.), sand lance (Ammodytes sp.), and rock gunnel (Pholis gunnellus) were dominant in Penobscot Bay in March and April. Larvae of spring to early summer spawners such as winter flounder (Pleuronectes americanus) Atlantic seasnail (Liparis atlanticus), and radiated shanny (Ulvaria subbifurcata) were more abundant in May and June. Penobscot Bay appears to be a nursery for many fishes; therefore any degradation of water quality during the vernal period would have wide reaching effects on the nearshore fish community.