342 pages, Bw illus, figs, tabs, maps
The estuaries of the Middle Atlantic Bight -- between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras -- provide nursery habitat for young fishes that inhabit much wider areas as adults. This is the least understood phase of fishes' life cycles: the time when they undergo great changes in morphology, diet, and habitat, and when they are particularly vulnerable to predators and environmental hazards. In this book, Kenneth Able and Michael Fahay summarize the results of their research on the first year in the lives of these fishes, based on more than 28,000 samples collected during the past two decades, as well as an up-to-date appraisal of the scientific literature. In the heart of the book, they describe the natural history of the eggs, larvae, and juveniles of seventy fish species, the most abundant and ecologically/economically important of 300+ species whose young are found in the Hudson and Delaware estuaries and smaller New Jersey rivers, estuaries, and bays. They stress the temporal and spatial distribution of eggs, larvae, and juveniles. They also analyze the patterns and subtle variations in the ecology and life history strategies of these species: their growth rates, where they find refuge from predators, how they survive their first winter, and how they share the estuarine habitat with so many other species. To aid in the identification of these young stages, the authors provide field character keys and elegant, detailed line drawings of juveniles.
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