Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


College of Science

First Advisor

Juliana Harding


Temperate estuarine blenny species establish subtidal territories and nesting sites. Four blenny species co-occur in North Inlet, SC including the striped blenny, Chasmodes bosquianus, crested blenny, Hypleurochilus geminatus, feather blenny, Hypsoblennius hentzi, and freckled blenny, Hypsoblennius ionthas. All four fishes use empty oyster (Crassostrea virginica) shells as nesting sites. Current 3D printer technology was used to create standard nest substrates to describe relationships between blenny habitat use and nest site dimensions. Replicate printed shells of 2 gape widths (5, 7 mm) for each of 2 shell cavity volumes (22 mL, 15mL, Oyster A and B, respectively) were deployed and checked ~biweekly beginning in late summer 2018. The first nest substrate deployment (July-December 2018) tested whether or not blennies would occupy and nest in the printed shells. The second deployment (December 2018-April 2019) evaluated the hypothesis that larger fish select printed shells with larger cavity volume and/or gape width. Printed shells were used as nest sites by three blenny species. A positive relationship was observed between fish occupancy and the time since printed shell deployment. Blenny standard lengths were significantly different between each substrate (Single Factor ANOVA, df = 4, F= 2.97, p = 0.04). Trends indicate that mature, nesting fishes (standard length = 53 mm, ± 7.61) occupy shells with larger (7 mm) gapes and larger (22 mL) volume more frequently (0.59).

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