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Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Chesapeake Research Consortium, Inc.
Few studies have focused on the effects of climatic perturbations, such as hurricanes, on finfish recruitment and behavior. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Trawl Survey has sampled continuously throughout the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay for 50 years. While hurricanes have impacted Chesapeake Bay during this time, three periods of hurricane activity— September and November 1985 (hurricanes Gloria and Juan), September 1989 (Hurricane Hugo), and September 2003 (Hurricane Isabel)—coincided with the largest spikes in juvenile recruitment of Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) for half a century. The fall (October–December) croaker young-of-year indices for 1985, 1989, and 2003 were seven, five, and eight times greater, respectively, than the 50-year average. Typically Atlantic croaker display great interannual variability in Chesapeake Bay, with these fluctuations shown to be weather related. The timing of Atlantic croaker recruitment to Chesapeake Bay is such that late summer/fall hurricanes are most likely to affect them, as opposed to other shelf spawners. Understanding the effects of hurricanes on species, such as croaker, that have enormous ecological, commercial, and recreational importance is essential for prudent fisheries management.
Montane, M. M. and Austin, H. M., "Effects of Hurricanes on Atlantic Croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) Recruitment to Chesapeake Bay" (2005). VIMS Books and Book Chapters. 5.