Home > Explore Data & Reports > Linking the Abundance of Estuarine Fish and Crustaceans in Nearshore Waters to Shoreline Hardening and Land Cover

Citation:

Kornis, M.S., D. Breitburg, R. Balouskus, D.M. Bilkovic, L.A. Davias, S. Giordano, K. Heggie, A.H. Hines, J.M. Jacobs, T.E. Jordan, R.S. King, C.J. Patrick, R.D. Seitz, H. Soulen, T.E. Targett, D.E. Weller, D.F. Whigham, and J. Uphoff, Jr. 2017. Linking the Abundance of Estuarine Fish and Crustaceans in Nearshore Waters to Shoreline Hardening and Land Cover. Estuaries and Coasts, 40(5):1464-1486. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-017-0213-6

Data/Report Type:

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Description

Human alteration of land cover (e.g., urban and agricultural land use) and shoreline hardening (e.g., bulkheading and rip rap revetment) are intensifying due to increasing human populations and sea level rise. Fishes and crustaceans that are ecologically and economically valuable to coastal systems may be affected by these changes, but direct links between these stressors and faunal populations have been elusive at large spatial scales. We examined nearshore abundance patterns of 15 common taxa across gradients of urban and agricultural land cover as well as wetland and hardened shoreline in tributary subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Coastal Bays. We used a comprehensive landscape-scale study design that included 587 sites in 39 subestuaries. Our analyses indicate shoreline hardening has predominantly negative effects on estuarine fauna in water directly adjacent to the hardened shoreline and at the larger system-scale as cumulative hardened shoreline increased in the subestuary. In contrast, abundances of 12 of 15 species increased with the proportion of shoreline comprised of wetlands. Abundances of several species were also significantly related to watershed cropland cover, submerged aquatic vegetation, and total nitrogen, suggesting land-use-mediated effects on prey and refuge habitat. Specifically, abundances of four bottom-oriented species were negatively related to cropland cover, which is correlated with elevated nitrogen and reduced submerged and wetland vegetation in the receiving subestuary. These empirical relationships raise important considerations for conservation and management strategies in coastal environments.

Note to readers with disabilities: Some scientific publications linked from this website may not conform to Section 508 accessibility standards due to the complexity of the information being presented. If you need assistance accessing this electronic content, please contact the lead/corresponding author, Primary Contact, or nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov.

Explore Similar Data/Reports
NCCOS-with-tag-to-side-bld

NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov

    Sign Up for Our Quarterly Newsletter