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Free Content Effects on Fishes and their Forage Organisms of Impounding a Florida Salt Marsh to Prevent Breeding by Salt Marsh Mosquitoes

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The food organisms taken by fishes in an Indian River County, Florida salt marsh before and 2½ years after it was impounded were compared. Eleven of the 16 species of fish present before impoundment were absent: ladyfish, Elops saurus; tarpon, Megalops atlanticus; Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis; longnose killifish, Fundulus similis; Rivulus marmoratus; white mullet, Mugil cephalus; tidewater silversides, Menidia beryllina; snook, Centropomus undecimalis; striped mojarras, Diapterus plumieri; fat sleepers, Dormitator maculatus; and lyre gobies, Evorthodus lyricus. Numbers of rainwater killifsh, Lucania parva, marsh killifish, Fundulus confluentus, and sheep shead minnows, Cyprinodon variegatus were reduced; only the mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, and sailfin mollies, Poecilia latipinna were abundant.

The salt marsh insect fauna, including Aedes mosquitoes was also impoverished after impoundment, and previously abundant cyclopoid copepods were rare. Saltwort, Batis maritima, glasswort, Salicomia perennis, and mangroves, mostly black mangroves, Avicennia germinans, formerly the sources of fresh vascular tissue for food had been destroyed. A massive production of the dinoflagellate, Scrippsiella subsalsa (Pyrrophyta), non-existent in the unimpounded marsh occurred. There was a shift to chief reliance on plant materials for food by the three common fishes, and a shift within the plant diet from fresh vascular tissue to vascular-plant detritus and algae. The waning capital of detritus unless replenished by the re-establishment of vascular plants will narrow the ultimate resources of this impoundment to algae as the base nutrient.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1982-04-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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