Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies


Coastal and Marine Systems Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Robert F. Young

Second Advisor

Daniel C. Abel

Third Advisor

Eric T. Koepfler


The surf zone fish assemblage of Horry County, SC was sampled biweekly with a 20 m beach seine from May 2007 through November 2008, resulting in the capture of 6425 specimens from 45 species. No differences in diversity, abundance, or species richness were found between open beach habitats and beach habitats adjacent to swashes draining small marsh systems. Two species, Fundulus majalis and Mugil curema, occurred significantly more often at swash-associated beaches. Abundance for most species varied seasonally, with overall abundance peaking between May and November. The extended nearshore fish community (20 m to 200 m offshore) was sampled biweekly with a 200 m haul seine at a single open beach site. Nearshore nekton communities just beyond the surf zone have traditionally gone unsampled in scientific surveys, and this new method captured species and size classes that are uncommon in both beach seines and trawls. This method may help gain more knowledge of this understudied habitat. Infaunal samples were taken to relate the occurrence of infauna with the nearshore nekton. However, low infauna abundance disallowed correlations. Two habitats were concurrently sampled in Charleston County, SC in a separate study. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) numbers are similar for both counties; however the sampling sites are different, eliminating direct comparison.