Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Skarke, Adam

Committee Member

Cebrian, Just

Committee Member

Sparks, Eric

Committee Member

Powers, Sean

Committee Member

Rodgers, John C., III

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Estuarine habitats are considered nursery habitats for fishes and invertebrates, but oligohaline environments are critically understudied. Using a seine net and fyke nets, we sampled Back Bay, Mississippi (USA), a low salinity estuary, once a month for a year to explore the temporal use of the marsh and adjacent submerged landscape by nekton species. We also looked at whether there is evidence of habitat preference in the most numerous nekton species. We used a novel habitat usage index (HUI) to compare seine and fyke net catches of our top 10 species, and evaluated catch size in relation to maturation size. Consequently, we noted marked differences in 48 nekton species in terms of habitat preference; observed, for our top 10 species, transient species were primarily immatures, and resident species mostly occurred in marshes with some exceptions; and detected size patterns consistent with the spawning cycle of the species in question.