Date of Award

Fall 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences



Committee Director

Cynthia Jones

Committee Member

Kent Carpenter

Committee Member

Harold G. Marshall

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.B46 H66 2002


I examined entrance patterns of Atlantic croaker, Micropogonias undulatus by comparing the abundance, length, age and growth rates, of larvae as they entered Oregon and Ocracoke Inlets, NC. These biological factors were then compared against environmental factors to assess the influence the physical environment has on recruitment variability. Entrance abundance into Oregon Inlet was an order of magnitude higher than abundance into Ocracoke Inlet. However, the difference was influenced by three peak events in Oregon Inlet and non-parametric tests found no difference in median abundance between the two inlets. Mean standard length was smaller at Oregon Inlet than Ocracoke Inlet but at-test found no significant difference between mean lengths. Larvae were consistently older at Oregon Inlet than those entering Ocracoke Inlet. Inlet mean differed by 13 days and was significantly different between the two inlets. Larval growth rates were slower at Oregon Inlet than at Ocracoke Inlet by 0.04mm/day. Although the difference was small, the results of at-test determined it was large enough to be significantly different. Growth rates did not have a strong correlation with either offshore water temperatures downloaded from the Diamond Shoals weather bouy nor with inlet temperatures taken at time of capture. Thus, measurements of water temperatures at either place are not a good predictor of larval growth. Wind data only showed a link between Ocracoke entrance abundance and winds in the north/south directions. Thus, explaining recruitment variability appears to be more complex than first order comparisons with water temperature and wind data.


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