Diversity in destinations, routes and timing of small adult and sub-adult striped bass Morone saxatilis on their southward autumn migration
Almost three-quarters of the 46 young adult and sub-adult striped bass Morone saxatilis that were acoustically tagged in Plum Island Estuary, Massachusetts, U.S.A., in the summer of 2006 were detected in one or more southern coastal arrays during their autumn migration. On the basis of the trajectories along which these M. saxatilis moved from feeding to overwintering areas, three migratory groups emerged. After leaving Plum Island Estuary, about half of the fish were detected only in a mid-latitude array, Long Island Sound. The other half of the tagged fish were detected during autumn and winter in a more southern array, the Delaware Estuary. This latter group of fish may have used two routes. Some travelled to the Delaware Estuary through Long Island Sound while other fish may have taken a second, more direct, coastal route that did not include Long Island Sound. Consequently, a seemingly homogeneous group of fish tagged at the same time in the same non-natal feeding location exhibited a diversity of southward movement patterns that could affect population-level processes. These three groups that differed in overwintering location and migration route could be movement contingents with migratory connectivity.