Fish-oyster ecological interactions in saltmarsh tidal creeks

Juli Harding, Department of Marine Science, CCU
Event Location: 
Event Date: 
Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 3:00pm
Event Type: 
SCMSS Seminar Series


Demersal blennies and gobies are common resident species in temperate Atlantic saltmarsh tidal creeks. Adult fishes are serial spawners that use oyster reefs as nesting habitats. The observed dynamics for adult fish and oyster populations are directly influenced by the planktonic interactions between their larvae that may influence cohort success for both trophic levels. Fish habitat use and interactions between adults and larvae in relation to seasonal water temperatures are under investigation in North Inlet estuary, South Carolina. From 2011-2013, the spawning season for demersal fishes extended from ~ March-October at water temperatures of 16-20°C and overlapped with oyster spawning season (~May-October). In laboratory feeding experiments, goby and blenny larvae display species-specific differences in feeding as well as within-species ontogenetic differences when offered oyster veligers. The presence of adult fishes within oyster reef habitats is positively related to oyster population metrics that influence habitat availability at small (mm-cm) spatial scales. Water temperature also influences fish habitat use with the potential for changes in fish habitat use and interspecific interactions resulting from changing habitat water temperatures.

Speaker Information

Juli Harding joined the CCU Department of Marine Science as an assistant professor in January 2011. She received a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from the University of Dayton and a Ph.D. in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary. Her research interests are in marine ecology, with an emphasis on the community ecology of coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Recent projects include research on the population dynamics of native and invasive species as well as sclerochronology and its applications to environmental reconstruction and archaeology.