Date of Award

Spring 4-10-2007

Document Type



The Chesapeake and Delaware Bays are well known and extensively studied for their commercial value and environmental quality. There have been multiple studies based on salinity and temperature in these bays, but little is known about the influence of these factors on zooplankton distribution. Salinity has an effect on physiological processes, and, as a result, species have adapted for certain salinities. Temperature impacts both species physiology and primary productivity, which, in turn, impacts feeding rates of zooplankton. Based on previous studies on zooplankton distribution and current knowledge of physical variables, it was expected that salinity is the major variable in species distribution. The study demonstrates that salinity was indeed a factor in decapod distribution, and it suggests temperature may have been a regulator in copepod distribution. Temperature and salinity, however, were most likely not the only factors in total regulation of species distribution because of the visible disparity between chaetognath abundance in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, regardless of temperature or salinity.



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