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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 476:185-198 (2013)  -  DOI:

Fine-scale distribution of pelagic fishes relative to a large urban pier

Kenneth W. Able1,*, Thomas M. Grothues1, Iris M. Kemp2

1Rutgers University Marine Field Station, Tuckerton, New Jersey 08087, USA
2University of Washington, School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, Seattle, Washington 98195-5020, USA

ABSTRACT: Intense shading under large piers is known to negatively affect benthic fishes. However, effects on pelagic fishes are poorly known. We employed the equivalent of acoustic video, dual frequency identification sonar (DIDSON), under a kayak to evaluate the response of pelagic fishes at a large (351 × 255 m) urban pier (Pier 40) in Hudson River. A repeated measures design (322 occupations) sampled 3 transects each across both the northern and southern open water—pier edge—under pier continuum during the day and night from June 2009 to September 2010. Over 22000 individual fish, ranging from small schooling forage species (e.g. Anchoa mitchilli, Menidia menidia) to large predators (Morone saxatilis, Pomatomus saltatrix) were detected with DIDSON and verified with conventional sampling nets. Small (<250 mm) schooling pelagic fishes avoided areas under the pier where light is dramatically reduced during both day and night (when municipal lights illuminate the water away from the pier). Less abundant large (>250 mm) predatory fish responded somewhat differently from small schooling fish in that large predatory fish were slightly more abundant under the pier than in open water, but only from the edge extending to 5 m under the pier where there was still some light. Beyond that, abundance declined sharply. Together, these observations indicate that areas under large piers are suboptimal habitats for many of the abundant pelagic fishes, a pattern similar to that for benthic fishes.

KEY WORDS: Pier · Shade · Edge · Pelagic fish · Distribution · DIDSON

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Cite this article as: Able KW, Grothues TM, Kemp IM (2013) Fine-scale distribution of pelagic fishes relative to a large urban pier. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 476:185-198.

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