Effects of salinity on native estuarine fish species in South Florida
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Variable and high salinities have been identified as key stressors in Florida Bay. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) includes water redistribution projects that are intended to restore natural freshwater flows to northeastern Florida Bay. The present salinity regimes in the area, which span from hypo- to hypersaline, will be altered as a result of these actions. This research examined biological performance measures (i.e., growth and survival) of estuarine fish under varying salinity regimes that will occur as a result of the restoration of freshwater flow to the Bay. A series of acute and subchronic studies were conducted to determine the effects of salinity changes on various life stages (embryo/larval, juvenile, adult) of four native estuarine fish (Cyprinodon variegatus, Floridichthys carpio, Poecilia latipinna, and Gambusia holbrooki). Fish were exposed to a range of salinity concentrations (freshwater to hypersaline) based on current salinity profiles in the study areas. Growth (length, weight), abnormalities, and survival were measured. Salinity exposures included both rapid and gradual change events. Results show adverse effects of acute, abrupt salinity changes on fish survival and development due to salinity stress.
KeywordsSalinity stress Florida Bay Everglades restoration
This research was funded by Everglades National Park, DOI Cooperative Agreement Number H5284020094. This is SERC contribution no. 392.
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