We compared nekton habitat value of submerged aquatic vegetation, flooded non-vegetated natural and man-made edge habitats in mesohaline interior marsh areas in southwest Louisiana using a 1-m 2 throw trap and 3-mm bag seine. When present, SAV habitats supported close to 4 times greater densities and higher species richness of nekton as compared to either natural or man-made edge habitats, which supported similar densities to one another. Three species of concern (bayou killifish, diamond killifish, chain pipefish) were targeted in the analysis, and two of the three were collected almost entirely in SAV habitat. During the course of the study, Hurricanes Ike and Gustav passed directly over the study sites in September 2008. Subsequent analyses indicated significant reductions in resident nekton density 1-mo post hurricanes, and only limited recovery 13-mo post-hurricane. Possible alteration of environmental characteristics such as scouring of SAV habitat, deposition of sediment over SAV, edge erosion and marsh loss, and extended high salinities may explain these lasting impacts. ?? 2011.
Additional publication details
Nekton density patterns and hurricane recovery in submerged aquatic vegetation, and along non-vegetated natural and created edge habitats