Beach-Spawning Fishes: Reproduction in an Endangered Ecosystem, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Beach-Spawning Fishes

Reproduction in an Endangered Ecosystem, 1st Edition

By Karen L.M. Martin

CRC Press

223 pages | 10 Color Illus. | 43 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-09-13
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Beach-spawning fishes from exotic locations on most continents of the world provide spectacular examples of extreme adaptations during the most vulnerable life cycle stages. The beauty, intriguing biology, and importance of these charismatic fishes at the interface of marine and terrestrial ecosystems have inspired numerous scientific studies. Adaptations of behavior, physiology, development, and ecology are gathered together for the first time in this book.

Beach-Spawning Fishes: Reproduction in an Endangered Ecosystem is a comprehensive guide to beach spawning, a charismatic animal behavior that is seen in a surprising number of teleost species. This unexpected form of reproduction provides a window into the ecology of coastal areas, the behaviors and physiology necessary for fishes and their eggs to adapt to terrestrial conditions, and the threats and challenges for conservation and management. Beach-spawning species include important forage fishes such as the capelin, exotic fishes such as the fugu puffer, and the spectacular midnight runs of the California grunion.


"Beach-Spawning Fishes covers the wide range of questions one might immediately ask: Is this behavior convergent or limited to a certain family? Which taxa behave like this? What are the habitat requirements? These questions and more are readily answered in the first two chapters of the book. Spawning in the intertidal zone is not limited to the night-time activities of the California Grunion, but to multiple families of teleost fishes. From a general background on overall behavior and evolution of this unique life-history trend, the book then moves from overall patterns of diversification to specific cases of beach-spawning behavior.

Just as beach-spawning behavior is diverse across multiple fish families, the reproductive behaviors are highly varied as well as the preferred habitats. In this book, we see beach spawners make use of multiple reproductive strategies with an added twist of doing this all in low or receding waters.

Running the gamut from evolution, physiology, life history, and conservation, Beach-Spawning Fishes is an excellent resource for your bookshelf. Just as the many chapters of this book cover diverse questions with regard to beach spawners, the ways in which this resource can be used are diverse as well. Beach-Spawning Fishes has many possible uses for education at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional level. This book is an excellent resource for a professor wanting to bring a textbook-based, in-depth focus on unique spawning strategies in fishes, and it could certainly stand alone as a textbook for a special topics course on marine fish behavior. Beach-Spawning Fishes would be a useful supplement to a reproduction chapter in an ichthyology class or a jumping off point for discussions on diversity and convergent evolution. Anatomy and physiology courses could benefit from the real-life examples of physiological processes discussed. Other portions of this book could be summarized for ecology courses as examples of food webs, ecosystem functionality, or embryonic development. As an extra bonus, this book comes in hardcover, and is also available as an ebook, further lending it to class-based use."

—Malorie M. Hayes, Auburn University, in Copeia

Table of Contents

A Leap of Faith: Evolution of Beach Spawning Behavior

Overview of Biogeography and Ecology of Beach-Spawning Fishes

Fish Families with Many Intertidal Species Also Have Many Species that Spawn on Beaches

Some Lineages Indicate Independent Origins of Beach-Spawning Behavior

Some Teleost Fish Species Spawn on Beaches and Other Habitats

Lineages that Include Multiple Species of Beach-Spawning Fishes Show Multiple Independent Origins of this Behavior

The Leap of Faith, Plastic Behavior, and Evolution

Surf, Sand, and Beach: Physical Conditions of Shore Habitats for Fishes

Tidal Ebb and Flow Alter Habitat Conditions Rapidly and Predictably on Beaches

Some Fish Species Are Resident in the Intertidal Zones During All Parts of the Tidal Cycle; Others Visit only at High Tide

Beach Spawning Usually Occurs During High Tides for Fishes

Beach Spawning Behavior in Fishes May Not involve Air-Breathing

Beach Spawning Occurs on Specific Substrates

Few Species of Freshwater Fishes Spawn at the Water’s Edge

Air, Fresh Water and Sea Water Have Very Different Properties As Respiratory Media

Beach Spawning Fishes Are Global in Distribution

Locals only: Beach Spawning Behavior in Resident intertidal Fishes

Many Teleosts Reproduce with Pelagic Eggs

Beach Spawning Fishes Produce Demersal Eggs

Diverse Mating Behaviors and Mating Systems Are Seen in Beach-Spawning Fishes that Are Intertidal Residents

Fishes that Reside in the Rocky Intertidal Zone Spawn on the Rocky Beach

Fishes in Estuaries Spawn on Beaches at the Water’s Edge Or on Intertidal Mudflats

Summary of Beach Spawning By Resident Intertidal Fishes

Vacation Sex: Subtidal Fishes that Make Spawning Migrations to the Beach

Some Species Migrate into the Rocky Intertidal Zone to Spawn

Some Species Migrate onto Gravel Beaches to Spawn

Some Fishes Migrate onto Sandy Beaches to Spawn

Some Fishes Spawn on Intertidal Or Nearshore Vegetation

Some Beach Spawning Fishes Are Anadromous Or Catadromous

Some Fishes Appear to Be Making a Transition Toward Beach Spawning

Summary for Fishes that Migrate From Other Habitats to Spawn on Beaches

Catching A Breath: Beach Spawning Fishes and Air-Breathing

How Are Emergence and Air-Breathing Beneficial for Beach Spawning Fishes?

Intertidal Fishes Show Gradients of Amphibious Behavior and Air-Breathing

Respiratory Structures for Amphibious Fishes Are Similar for Water and Air

Respiratory Structures Undergo Modification as Conditions Change

Metabolic Rate in Air During Emergence Is Similar to Metabolic Rate in Water for Many Amphibious Fishes

Terrestrial Activity Increases the Rate of Aerial Gas Exchange for Amphibious Fishes

Many Amphibious Fishes Show Hypoxia Tolerance

Estuarine Fishes that Spawn on Beaches May Breathe Air Whether Or Not they Emerge

Fishes that Migrate into the Intertidal Zone and Emerge During Beach Spawning Do Not Breathe Air

The Gas Bladder Has Non-Respiratory Functions in Beach Spawning Fishes

Air Emergence Has Physiological Consequences for Fishes

Summary and Consequences: Adults Have Greater Physiological Tolerance to Hypoxia than Embryos; Embryos Are Better Suited for Air Exposure

Unsafe Sex: the Dangers of Novel Predators and Other Terrestrial influences for Beach-Spawning Fishes and their Embryos

Marine and Avian Predators Attack Beach Spawning Fishes in the Ocean

Marine and Terrestrial Predators Attack During Beach Spawning Runs

Predation Occurs on Incubating Eggs and Embryos on Beaches

Egg Predation Occurs By Cannibalism During Spawning and Incubation on the Beach

Predation May Occur in the Nest on Guarding Parents and Embryos

Human Fisheries Target Some Beach Spawning Fishes

Parasites Attack Beach Spawning Fishes From Within

Beach Babes: Terrestrial Incubation and Beach-Spawning Fishes

Demersal Eggs Are Well Suited for Beach Spawning

The Chorion Surrounds and Protects the Embryo

Oviposition Height Is Species-Specific and Mediates Between Opposing Risks of Aquatic Hypoxia and Aerial Desiccation

Embryos on Beaches May Incubate for Long Periods of Time

Some Beach-Spawning Fishes Have Environmental Sex Determination

Embryos Develop Terrestrially to Hatching Competence

Some Species Wait for An Environmental Cue to Hatch

Perilous Return to the Sea: Hatching After Beach Incubation

Incubation on Beaches Exposes Fish Embryos to the Danger of Hatching on Land

Hatchlings Must Navigate the Perilous Return to the Sea

Hatching Competence Requires the Appropriate Stage of Development

Hatching Is a Two-Stage Process involving Chemical and Mechanical Steps

Hatching May Be Initiated Or Synchronized By Environmental Cues

The Mummichog Fundulus heteroclitus Hatches in Response to A Chemical Cue, Aquatic Hypoxia

The California Grunion Leuresthes tenuis Hatches in Response to A Mechanical Cue, Agitation in Seawater

The Mudskipper Periophthalmus modestus Hatches in Response to Parental Intervention and Aquatic Hypoxia

Extended Incubation May Arrest Development But Differs From Metabolic Arrest During Diapause

Summary of the Challenges and Mechanisms for Hatching on Beaches

Coastal Squeeze: New Threats to Beach Spawning Fishes and their Critical Habitats

Coastal Construction and Shoreline Armoring Alter Beaches

Pollution of Water and Land Can Harm Fishes at All Life Stages

Some Beach Spawning Fishes Are Caught By Commercial or Recreational Fishing

Maintenance Activities and Management Actions Can Affect Spawning Sites on Recreational Beaches

Industrial Activities Near Beaches Can Impact Fishes

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise May Cause Loss of Beach Habitat

Summary of New Threats to Beach Spawning Fishes

Waves of Passion: Conservation Efforts for Beach Spawning Fishes

California Greets the Grunion

Beach-Spawning Fishes Have Friends on the Shoreline in Washington State

Canadians Care About Capelin

Kusafugu Are Cultural Treasures in Japan

Celebrations of Beach Spawning Fishes in Sausalito, California

Whitebaiters in New Zealand Protect their Recreation

Forage Fish Initiatives Address Ecological Concerns

Summary: Local Ecological Knowledge Is Needed for Conservation

About the Author

Karen L. M. Martin, PhD, is professor of biology and Frank R. Seaver Chair in Natural Science at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. She is a fellow of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists, and active in the American Fisheries Society, the American Society of Ichthyologists, and Herpetologists, the Society for Integrative and Comparitive Biology, and other scientific organizations. She has published extensively on studies of animals at the interface between water and land and is associate editor of the journal Copeia. Dr. Martin's previous books are Amniote Origins Completing the Transition to Land, coedited with Stuart Sumida; and Intertidal Fishes: Life in Two Worlds, coedited with Michael Horn and Michael Chotkowski.

After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees at Oklahoma University, she earned a doctorate in biology at University of California, Los Angeles, and completed a postdoctoral Friday Harbor Fellowship at the University of Washington. Dr. Martin received the Environmental Partnership Award from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, and the Conservation Achievement Award from the American Fisheries Society. Her award-winning short documentary, Surf, Sand, and Silversides: The California Grunion, has been screened at numerous regional and international film festivals, conferences, universities, and aquariums. She cofounded the Beach Ecology Coalition and the Grunion Greeters in order to work with multiple stakeholders on beaches to balance human recreation with wildlife conservation. Dr. Martin is an advocate for involving the public in scientific research.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Animals / General
NATURE / Ecology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Evolution