Factors Affecting the Abundance of Age-0 Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) in Chesapeake Bay

May 11, 2020

Research on the varying abundance levels of age-0 juvenile Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) in Chesapeake Bay over the past six decades.

The abundance of prerecruit, age-0 Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus), declined to low levels in Chesapeake Bay in the 1990s, after two decades of high abundances in the 1970s–1980s. Environmental factors and trophodynamics were hypothesized to control age-0 menhaden abundance. Data on age-0 menhaden abundance from seine and trawl surveys were analyzed with respect to primary productivity, chlorophyll a, and environmental variables. Abundance from 1989 to 2004 was strongly correlated with metrics of primary production and euphotic-layer chlorphyll a, especially during spring months when larval menhaden transform into filter-feeding, phytoplanktivorous juveniles. Correlation, principal components, and multiple regression analyses were conducted that identified factors associated with age-0 menhaden abundance. The identified relationships suggest that numbers of menhaden larvae entering the Chesapeake Bay and environmental factors that subsequently control primary productivity and food for juveniles within the Bay may control recruitment levels of Atlantic menhaden.


Edward D. Houde, Eric R. Annis, Lawrence W. Harding, Jr., Michael E. Mallonee, Michael J. Wilberg. 2016. Factors affecting the abundance of age-0 Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) in Chesapeake Bay. Published in ICES Journal of Marine Science, Volume 73:9, pages 2238–2251. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsw063.

Last updated on 06/09/2020