Category: Fish/Shellfish Research
Author(s): Timothy Quinn, Dan Penttila, Kirk Krueger, David Price, Kurt Perry, Tiffany Hicks, and Brian Benson
Presentation poster from the 2009 Puget Sound Georgia Basin Conference
Surf Smelt (Hypomesus pretiosus) and Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) are important components of the marine food web. These species spawn in marine intertidal areas,and evidence of spawning activity by both species occurs on many beaches throughout the Salish Sea. Despite relatively good information on the general distribution of spawning beaches throughout Puget Sound for these species (Penttila 2007), we do not understand which beach characteristics are most important to these species for spawning.
There is growing concern that shoreline development can negatively affect intertidal forage fish spawning habitat. For example, Surf Smelt eggs are sensitive to the removal of shade along the shoreline (Rice 2006, Penttila 2002) and shoreline armoring can starve beaches of fine sediments on which forage fish species spawn.
We are interested in determining how physical beach characteristics relate to forage fish spawning habitat quality as measured by egg abundance and egg mortality. In particular we want to know how human disturbance may affect physical processes responsible for creating and maintaining forage fish spawning habitat.