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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Hurst, T.P. and D.O. Conover. 2002. Effects of temperature and salinity on survival of young-of-the-year Hudson River striped bass (Morone saxatilis): implications for optimal overwintering habitats. Canadian Journal Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 59:787-795.


We examined the role of salinity, body size, and energetic state in determining low temperature tolerance of young-of-the-year (YOY) striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and used this information to map optimal overwintering habitat in the Hudson River estuary. A long-term experiment compared survival at 15 ppt and 30 ppt. In additional experiments, winter-acclimated fish were exposed to temperature declines (2.3°C·day-1 to 1°C·week-1) at salinities from 0 ppt to 35 ppt. Highest survival at low temperatures was consistently observed at intermediate salinities. These results suggest that the observed distribution of overwintering striped bass is related to physiological constraints on osmoregulatory ability at low temperatures. Low temperature tolerance appeared unrelated to body size and energetic state. Salinity profiles were used to describe the location and extent of optimal wintering habitats under various hydrographic regimes. The location of optimal habitats was displaced by over 27 km along the river axis because of variation in salinity regime. Changes in the availability of optimal habitat may be responsible for variation in recruitment to the Hudson River population. These results demonstrate the need to consider a holistic approach encompassing all seasons of the year in assessing habitat requirements of fishes.


Last updated 30 March, 2009

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