Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Greg Garman


There are few published studies of larval fish assemblages from unregulated, tidal freshwater rivers. Patterns in the spatial and temporal distribution of larval fishes in the Mattaponi River were examined. Sampling took place on a weekly basis from February through August, 2006 and 2007. Larval fishes were categorized by taxa, reproductive guild, and residency guild. Group comparisons using multi-response permutation procedures (MRPP) indicated significant spatial and temporal differences in assemblage composition on multiple scales. Differences in assemblage composition were analyzed using non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS). Interannual differences were attributable to anadromous and semi-migratory species. Seasonal differences were attributable to herrings, perches, and minnows. Both interannual and seasonal differences in assemblage composition may have been a result of changes in discharge. Spatial (i.e. longitudinal) variation of the larval fish assemblage differed by tidal regime. NMS and MRPP identified a distinct tidal freshwater larval fish assemblage. Tidal freshwater habitats may act as ecotones between marine and riverine ecosystems.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Biology Commons