Common mummichog Fundulus heterclitus

Demographics of high marsh consumers from Breder trap transect collections in tidal creeks associated with long term fertilization experiments, Rowley, MA


 At PIE, mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) use the spring-cycle high tides to access the flooded high marsh platform and eat invertebrate prey, coupling the high marsh and aquatic creek food webs by gathering energy produced on the high marsh and making it available to the aquatic food web. Changes in the geomorphology of saltmarsh creek edges greatly influence the survival, biomass, and resource use of mummichog populations. Here, we capture animals using Breder traps to quantify the communities accessing the high marsh at night during one of these high tides in July 2018 across 3 PIE creeks known to present different geomorphologic patterns in their low marsh zones. These data can be used for the assessment of the impact of low marsh geomorphology on consumer communities in PIE marshes. Mummichog captured in these Breder traps were further analyzed for gut content (LTE-TIDE-BrederTrap-GutContents). These data were included in part of the study “Habitat decoupling via saltmarsh creek geomorphology alters connection between spatially-coupled food webs” (Lesser et al. 2020) and were a portion of an MBL REU project. 


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Locations: Mud South (MS), West (WE), and Clubhead (CL) 

Breder Traps


    IIn July of 2018, 8 stations of Breder traps were deployed per study creek, 4 stations in both the left and the right branch. Each station had 2 traps, one trap was deployed in the low-marsh area, 1m from the TSA/SP boundary with the opening facing the creek in order to capture consumers as they moved onto the high-marsh area with the rising tide. The second trap is placed in the high-marsh area 1m from the TSA/SP boundary. Breder traps were installed by clipping the grass and staking the trap into the ground to prevent any movement. The trap stations were placed with a minimum distance of 25m, ensuring independent samplings. Sampling was conducted over 2 nights, the 27th and 28th of July.


Tide measurements were recorded via painting a staked meter stick with colored glue, and documenting the height of the water level from the point where the glue was washed away. The meter stick was staked on the marsh surface making the measured levels relative to the water level on the marsh, not the creek.


Sampling Collection and Processing


Traps were left out for 6 hours total, they were placed 3 hours before the incoming tide and collectred 3 hours after peak high tide.  When traps were collected all captured consumers were collected and frozen for analysis. In the lab, the captured consumers were measured to the nearest millimeter and weighed. All weights were measured to the nearest 0.0001g. For fishes total length (TL) was measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the caudal fin.


Species abbreviations

fuh = Fundulus heteroclitus, Common mummichog

pap = Palaemonetes pugio, grass shrimp

mem = Menidia menidia, Atlantic silverside

pu_spp=  Pungitius spp., sticklebacks



Version 1 March 10, 2022, original upload of data and metadata.  Used MarcrosExportEML_HTML (working)pie_excel2007_Jul2021.xlsm to check metadata.




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