Evaluation of methods for identifying spawning sites and habitat selection for alosines

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
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Abstract

Characterization of riverine spawning habitat is important for the management and restoration of anadromous alosines. We examined the relative effectiveness of oblique plankton tows and spawning pads for collecting the eggs of American shad Alosa sapidissima, hickory shad A. mediocris, and “river herring” (a collective term for alewife A. pseudoharengus and blueback herring A. aestivalis) in the Roanoke River, North Carolina. Relatively nonadhesive American shad eggs were only collected by plankton tows, whereas semiadhesive hickory shad and river herring eggs were collected by both methods. Compared with spawning pads, oblique plankton tows had higher probabilities of collecting eggs and led to the identification of longer spawning periods. In assumed spawning areas, twice-weekly plankton sampling for 15 min throughout the spawning season had a 95% or greater probability of collecting at least one egg for all alosines; however, the probabilities were lower in areas with more limited spawning. Comparisons of plankton tows, spawning pads, and two other methods of identifying spawning habitat (direct observation of spawning and examination of female histology) suggested differences in effectiveness and efficiency. Riverwide information on spawning sites and timing for all alosines is most efficiently obtained by plankton sampling. Spawning pads and direct observations of spawning are the best ways to determine microhabitat selectivity for appropriate species, especially when spawning sites have previously been identified. Histological examination can help determine primary spawning sites but is most useful when information on reproductive biology and spawning periodicity is also desired. The target species, riverine habitat conditions, and research goals should be considered when selecting methods with which to evaluate alosine spawning habitat.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluation of methods for identifying spawning sites and habitat selection for alosines
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1577/M09-096.1
Volume 30
Issue 2
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis Online
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 14 p.
First page 386
Last page 399
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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