At PIE, mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) use the spring-cycle high tides to access the flooded high marsh platform and consume invertebrate prey. Invertebrate surveys were conducted before and after spring tides that flooded the high marsh area to determine the effect of mummichog predation that occurs on the high marsh during the flood events and to assess the impact of low marsh geomorphology on top-down control by mummichog. These data were included in part of the study "Cross-habitat access modifies the ‘trophic relay’ in New England saltmarsh ecosystems” (Lesser et al. 2021) as well as a part of a NEU Three Seas Master's thesis.
Locations: Sweeney (SW), West (WE), and Clubhead (CL)
Sampling Collection and Processing
High marsh invertebrate communities were surveyed before and after spring-cycle tides that flooded the high marsh surface. One survey was conducted pre-spring tide and one post-spring tide; this was done for 3 consecutive spring tide cycles in each study creek. Two 45m transects were conducted, starting at the low/high marsh boundary and up towards the higher, upland area of the marsh. Along the transect, a 0.0625 m2 quadrat was tossed haphazardly at 4 points (0m, 15m, 30m and 45m) to randomly select sampling spots. The quadrat area was first sampled via suction sampling. A modified Stihl BG55 leaf blower with a small flower pot with a removed bottom was attached to the end of the blower tube. A 0.0625 m2 piece of wedding tulle was placed in the flower pot, so that when the blower was run over the quadrat, the invertebrates were caught in the tulle. The quadrat area was then clipped, removing all vegetation from the area. All invertebrates observed in the bare quadrat were then collected by hand for 10 minutes. A second person made note of any invertebrates that left the quadrat before being collected, these individuals were noted in abundance but not total biomass.
Collected samples were placed on ice and transported to the lab where they were identified to the lowest taxon possible. Invertebrate species were identified to relevant taxonomic level using species keys (usually family). Invertebrate total biomass and number of individuals were recorded.
Version 1 March 10, 2022, original upload of data and metadata. Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007_Jul2021.xlsm to check metadata.