4C.1 Latitudinal variation in habitat and fish assemblages in the Mid-Atlantic Bight based on NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center 2006 to 2009 winter cruises

Friday, 13 November 2009: 12:00 AM
Eric May, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD; and V. Guida and P. Chigbu

Since 2006, the Living Marine Resource Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) has conducted, in collaboration with the NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, winter cruises in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Eleven (11) to 18 sites were sampled during each cruise along 5 longitudinal transects set from 30 to 50 miles off northern New Jersey south to the North Carolina coast. The 2006 and 2007 cruises were used to examine latitudinal variation in fish assemblages based on Yankee 36 otter trawl samples. Beginning in 2008, the study was expanded to include collection of benthic invertebrate samples using a Van Veen grab, zooplankton samples using a Bongo net (333 micron mesh), and characterization of fish and macroinvertebrate communities using both Yankee 36 otter trawl and 2 meter Beam trawl. At each station, CTD profiles for temperature and salinity were also conducted. The study has documented the extent of inter-annual variation in fish assemblages and fish length distributions, benthic invertebrate and zooplankton communities, and bottom temperatures. In addition range expansion for the southern white shrimp was found suggesting northern movement for this species. This paper will discuss variations in fish assemblages coupled with variation in bottom temperature during the past four years in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.
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