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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Buckel, J.A. and A.W. Stoner. 2000. Functional response and switching behavior of young-of-the-year piscivorous bluefish. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 245:25-41.


Young-of-the-year (YOY) bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix (L.) impose significant mortality on recently metamorphosed striped bass, Morone saxatilis (W.) in the Hudson River estuary. Field observations indicate that bluefish selectivity on striped bass increases with increasing striped bass density suggesting a density-dependent feeding response. Functional response and switching experiments were conducted to aid in determining the mechanism for this response. The type of functional response exhibited by bluefish under several prey treatments was examined. These were striped bass alone, Atlantic silversides, Menidia menidia (L.) alone, striped bass with a background density of alternative prey, and striped bass in the presence of eelgrass Zostera marina (L.). The functional response of bluefish to increasing prey density was more similar to a type I or II model than a type III model under all treatments. Switching was examined by providing bluefish both striped bass and silversides at five different ratios with and without a prey refuge, eelgrass. Bluefish did not exhibit a type III functional response or switching behavior suggesting that these mechanisms do not explain the observed density-dependent selectivity pattern in the field. Switching experiments did suggest that the presence of prey refuge can determine selectivity by YOY bluefish in the field. The abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation and other prey refuge may be important in controlling the predatory impact of bluefish on striped bass in the Hudson River.


Last updated 31 March, 2009

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