Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Fish assemblages in eelgrass beds of Bellingham Bay, Washington, Northern Puget Sound, 2019

October 29, 2020

Puget Sound is a critical part of the Pacific Northwest, both culturally and economically. Eelgrass beds are an important feature of Puget Sound and are known to influence fish assemblages. As part of a larger site-characterization effort, and to gain a better understanding of the fish assemblages in Bellingham Bay, Washington, four eelgrass beds (Zostera marina) along the shoreline were surveyed. Fish were captured from 24 through 26 September 2019 by using three beach-seine hauls per eelgrass bed. In total, 12 hauls yielded 2,135 fish that comprised 20 species from 14 families. Shiner perch (Cymatogaster aggregata) accounted for 52 percent of the total catch. The other common species included three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), bay pipefish (Syngnathus leptorhynchus), saddleback gunnel (Pholis ornata), Pacific staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus), and Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes personatus). Total catch and species richness were highest at the two locations closest to the urban center of Bellingham; however, species diversity and evenness were highest at the two eelgrass beds farthest from the city center. Descriptions of fish assemblages in eelgrass beds are expected to be useful in the development of future process-based investigations by study partners and will focus on the movements of sediments and contaminants and their influence on biota.

Publication Year 2020
Title Fish assemblages in eelgrass beds of Bellingham Bay, Washington, Northern Puget Sound, 2019
DOI 10.3133/ds1131
Authors Morgan I. Andrews, Theresa L. Liedtke
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 1131
Index ID ds1131
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center