This review focuses on the influence of salinity on freshwater fishes in coastal rivers and estuaries of the southeastern U.S. Influences of salinity on freshwater fish species can be explained partly through responses evidenced by behavior, physiology, growth, reproduction, and food habits during all aspects of life history. Factors influencing the rate of salinity change affect the community structure and dynamics of freshwater fishes in brackish environments. Our understanding of the relation between salinity and the life history of freshwater fishes is limited because little ecological research has been conducted in low-salinity habitats that we consider an “interface” between freshwater streams and the estuary proper. Much of the available data are descriptive in nature and describe best general patterns, but more specific studies are required to better determine the influence of salinity on freshwater fishes. Improved understanding of the influence of human-induced changes on the productivity and viability of these important systems will require a new research focus.
Additional publication details
Effects of salinity on freshwater fishes in coastal plain drainages in the southeastern U.S.