Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Richard H. Moore


Measurement of growth of the euryhaline teleost Mugil cephalus is quite common in open ocean settings, but growth rates of M. cephalus in isolated areas is non-existent. Two isolated ponds in Huntington Beach State, Horry County, South Carolina were selected to study the growth rate of M. cephalus; Sandpiper Pond with virtual no hydrologic connection to the ocean and Jetty Pond with adequate hydrologic connection to the ocean were the sites of sample collection. Scales from M. cephalus in both ponds were collected then aged by two readers, where agreeing ages were kept in the dataset. A von Bertalanffy growth model was fit individually for the two study sites. Length-at-age data and von Bertalanffy growth curves for Sandpiper Pond and Jetty Pond were compared to similar data from the Atlantic Ocean near Charleston, South Carolina and the Gulf of Mexico near Vera Cruz, Mexico. Sandpiper Pond was observed to be the most stressful of the environments and resulted in the slowest growth rate. Jetty Pond specimens on the other hand exhibited the fastest growth rate, possibly due to regeneration of eggs and optimal water circulation. Length-at-age data for M. cephalus in the Atlantic Ocean near Charleston fitted a von Bertalanffy growth curve that reached an asymptotic length at age 3, the same age as maturity. The von Bertalanffy growth model for M. cephalus in the Gulf of Mexico showed a slower growth than those in the Atlantic Ocean but greater than that of Sandpiper Pond. Each environment influenced the growth of the fish within it and caused significantly different growth rates between the four locations.

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