Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


The purpose of this study is to examine the feeding ecology and trophic role/importance of the northern pipefish, Syngnathus fuscus, in a lower Chesapeake Bay seagrass community.

The study incorporates; 1) examination of stomach contents in conjunction with prey abundance data, inorder to arrive at conclusions concerning the food preferences of S· fuscus, 2) determination of daily feeding periodicities and stomach evacuation parameters, thus allowing for the determination of a daily ration for S· fuscus, 3) examination of size relationships between S. fuscus and it's major prey species, 4) estimation of pipefish densities at the study site, and 5) examination of the trophic importance of S. fuscus via estimation of the annual quantities of specific prey species consumed at the study site, and comparison of these values with estimated production values for the prey populations.

It is suggested, that while S. fuscus consumes only moderate portions of the annual production of it's prey species, it may serve to modulate the production of these prey species by feeding predominantly upon small individuals, thus effectively altering the age-class structure of the prey population, and assumably the production charactoristics as well.



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