Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

R/F-65

Abundance and comparative trophic ecology of schooling pelagic fishes in the Chesapeake Bay

Principal Investigator: 

Edward D. Houde

Start/End Year: 

1990 to 1994

Institution: 

Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Co-Principal investigator: 

Stephen B. Brandt, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Topic(s): 

Description: 

We hypothesize that abundant pelagic fishes, principally the bay anchovy and menhaden, are the major consumers of plankton production in the Chesapeake Bay, forming a key link in the pathway from primary production to harvestable fish resources. To test this hypothesis and to compare/contrast the ecology of the two species in the Maryland portion of the Bay, we will estimate seasonal biomasses and abundances of anchovy and menhaden, and define their trophic relationships, growth statistics and production in relation to the physical structure of the environment. Schooling pelagic fishes, principally bay anchovy and menhaden, are hypothesized to be major consumers of plankton production in the Chesapeake Bay and form a key link in the pathway from primary production to harvestable fish. To test this hypothesis and to compare/contrast the ecology of the two species in the Bay, we will estimate their seasonal biomass and abundance, define their trophic relationships and estimate growth and production in relation to the physical structure of the environment.