Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies


Coastal and Marine Systems Science

First Advisor

Juliana M. Harding

Second Advisor

Dennis M. Allen

Third Advisor

Robert F. Young


The naked goby (Gobiosoma bosc) and striped blenny (Chasmodes bosquianus) are sympatric oyster reef fishes within temperate estuaries. The reproductive biology and early life history of these fishes were described during two consecutive spawning seasons from 2012-2013 in North Inlet, SC. The naked goby and striped blenny spawning seasons lasted for 21 weeks and 30 weeks, respectively, for 2012 and 2013. The naked goby spawning season began 3 weeks later than the striped blenny spawning season for both years. The temporal offset in the start of their spawning seasons may reduce competition for nest habitat between the two species. Naked gobies produced more oocytes female-1 (1,024- 2,616) than striped blennies (148- 585) despite their generally smaller length (29-36 mm SL, goby; 44-56 mm SL, blenny). However, striped blenny larvae were larger than naked goby larvae at hatch (2.76-3.60 mm TL, goby; 2.93-4.32 mm TL, blenny). Growth rates increased by 0.07 mm day-1 for naked gobies and 0.05 mm day-1 for striped blennies after week 10 of their spawning seasons when water temperature was >28°C. Increased growth rates allowed late-season larvae to reach flexion and settlement faster than early-season larvae. Faster naked goby growth rates allowed late season larvae to reach settlement lengths similar to those observed for early season larvae (6.42-9.0 mm TL) in 20-21 days versus 19-30 days for early season larvae. Striped blenny average settlement length decreased from 9.32±0.28 mm TL by 26% between weeks 6 and 18 of the spawning season. Striped blenny larval duration ranged from 14-23 days. The differences observed in the early life history and reproductive biology of naked gobies and striped blennies allow for temporal habitat partitioning during the adult and larval phases and reduce competition between the two species.