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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 368:241-254 (2008)  -  DOI:

Diet and growth of non-native Mississippi silversides and yellowfin gobies in restored and natural wetlands in the San Francisco Estuary

Sahrye E. Cohen1,*, Stephen M. Bollens2

1Department of Biology and Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, San Francisco State University,
3152 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, California 94920, USA
2School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Washington State University Vancouver,
14204 Northeast Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver, Washington 98686-9600, USA

ABSTRACT: We examined how wetland restoration status influenced habitat quality for fishes by comparing otolith-calculated growth rates and diets of 2 abundant non-native fish species, the locally transient planktivorous Mississippi silverside Menidia audens and the resident demersal-feeding yellowfin goby Acanthogobius flavimanus, in 2 wetlands undergoing restoration (‘restoring’ wetlands) and 1 natural wetland (Napa River, San Francisco Estuary, California, USA; 38°10’N; 122°18’W). Native species with similar trophic requirements were too few in abundance to serve as study organisms. Differences in fish diet and growth based on restoration status were expected for the more resident goby species, but not for the transient silversides. Fish were collected in June 2004 and 2005 from a 10 yr old restoring marsh, a 50 yr old restoring marsh and a natural marsh, using a modified fyke net. Diet of silversides was primarily composed of copepods, cumaceans, and flying insects, while yellowfin goby diets were composed of annelids, cumaceans, and amphipods. Prey species biomass in the stomachs of yellowfin gobies was significantly different between marshes, but these differences were not dependent on restoration status. No significant differences in Mississippi silverside growth rates were detected, and yellowfin goby growth rates varied somewhat between marshes and years, but were not significantly different between restored versus reference sites. Based on these findings, we suggest that adequate prey abundance and prey species composition is available for these fish species in both our restored and natural study sites. It also appears that some restoring breached wetlands can quickly (within 10 yr) provide equivalent habitat to natural areas, at least for generalist, non-native fishes; however, consideration of underlying mechanisms of restoration will be important in designing wetlands that specifically favor native fish populations.

KEY WORDS: Acanthogobius flavimanus · Menidia audens · Wetland restoration · Non-native species · Fish ecology · Tidal marsh

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Cite this article as: Cohen SE, Bollens SM (2008) Diet and growth of non-native Mississippi silversides and yellowfin gobies in restored and natural wetlands in the San Francisco Estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 368:241-254.

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