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SHALLOW HABITATS IN TWO RHODE ISLAND SYSTEMS: II. PATTERNS OF SIZE, STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONAL GROUPS
Chintala, M, L Meng, AND G Cicchetti. SHALLOW HABITATS IN TWO RHODE ISLAND SYSTEMS: II. PATTERNS OF SIZE, STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONAL GROUPS. Presented at Estuarine Research Federation 16th Biennial Conference, St. Ptersburg, FL, November 4-8, 2001.
We are examining habitats in small estuarine coves that may be important for the development of ecological indicators of integrity. We sampled nekton in Coggeshall Cove (shallow estuarine cove) in summer 1999 and 2000 and Ninigret Pond (coastal lagoon) in summer 2000. Coggeshall Cove was sampled from marsh surface to the deepest subtidal area while Ninigret Pond was sampled in seagrass beds and macroalgal areas of similar depth. In Coggeshall Cove, nekton in the marsh surface and subtidal had similar size structures; however, more small Fundulus heteroclitus were found in the subtidal area. For all habitats, there were more omnivores by density, but more predators by biomass. Carcinus maenus was the biomass dominant predator in both the marsh and subtidal habitats while Palaemonetes spp. were the dominant omnivores in the subtidal habitat. The numerical and biomass dominant predator of invertebrates in the marsh as well as the intertidal habitats was Pseudopleuronectes american us. In Ninigret Pond, the macroalgal areas had smaller C. maenus, P. american us, and Crangon septemspinosa than did the seagrass areas. These results suggest that the macroalgal subtidal areas in these systems can be as important as the vegetated areas for smaller individuals.