MEPS - Vol. 579 - FEATURE ARTICLE

Chesapeake Bay fishes exhibited coherence to a common trend of annual condition. Correlations between condition and chl a suggest bottom-up forcing. (Illustration: Melanie Chattin)

Latour RJ, Gartland J, Bonzek CF

 

Spatiotemporal trends and drivers of fish condition in Chesapeake Bay


Fish condition can serve as a proxy for ecosystem suitability, as it reflects the biotic and abiotic factors experienced by individuals over moderate time scales. Latour and colleagues evaluated spatiotemporal trends in condition for 16 demersal fishes inhabiting Chesapeake Bay, the largest US estuary, over a 14 yr period. Spatial and intra-annual variability in condition among species likely reflected life history and physiological considerations. Annual trends in condition were remarkably similar across all fishes, and the significant effect of spring chl a concentration on annual condition of many species suggests bottom-up controls on a bay-wide scale. These findings provide valuable baselines and indicators of condition at scales appropriate to support ecosystem modeling and management efforts for Chesapeake Bay.

 

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