Distribution Of Striped Bass Eggs And Larvae In The Savannah River Estuary

A tide gate on the Savannah Back River, constructed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, might decrease survival of the striped bass (Marone saxatilis) eggs and larvae spawned near Savannah, Georgia. An initial season of sampling, with the tide gate held open, yielded striped bass eggs and larvae both up- and downstream from the gate. The distribution of eggs and larvae under normal conditions was established. Maximum numbers of striped bass eggs did not reveal 21m 3 • Spawning occurred at temperatures between 17 and 23 C but 3 spawning peaks coincided with temperatures between 19.5 and 21 C. Slightly more eggs were found farther upstream during the last spawning peak. All stations sampled yielded eggs or larvae at some time, but stations in Back River generally produced the most eggs. Significant numbers of eggs were found in sections of the river flanked by industry but many of these eggs originated in other areas ofthe river. Because it alters river flow patterns, the tide gate: I) may increase the likelihood that striped bass eggs and larvae will move into polluted sections of the river, 2) may increase the distance which striped bass eggs and larvae are transported downstream, and 3) will increase the likelihood that eggs will encounter waters of higher salinities.

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