Hardened Shorelines Reduce Fish Egg Abundance in Delaware Inland Bays
Atlantic silversides (Menidia menidia) prefer to deposit their eggs on native salt marsh habitat but not invasive salt marsh species, beaches, or shorelines hardened by bulkheads or rip-rap, according to a recent paper by a researcher funded by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
NCCOS-supported research found approximately 94% of M. menidia eggs collected were found in native marsh habitat, suggesting a clear spawning preference for the native, vegetated, unhardened shoreline type over other types of shoreline habitat. Native marshes had characteristics (temperature, atmospheric moisture, predation protection) that benefited the health and survival of M. menidia embryos.
Increasing areas of hardened shoreline structures in estuarine environments may have serious implications for M. menidia and other intertidally spawning fishes by reducing habitat used most frequently for egg deposition.
Balouskus, R.G. and T.E. Targett. 2012. Egg deposition by Atlantic silverside, Menidia menidia: substrate utilization and comparison of natural and altered shoreline type. Estuaries & Coasts 35 (4):1100–1109.