ACE Basin Characterization Study: Species Gallery

The ACE Basin contains six distinct ecosystem habitat types that range from subtidal areas and vast wetlands to uplands. These habitats are characterized by more than 1500 different plant and animal species that interact with the physical environment to create the ACE Basin ecosystem.


The ACE Basin contains a diverse assemblage of fish species in its freshwater, estuarine, and coastal environments. Salinity, vegetation, and bottom substrate are some of the physical characteristics that affect fish species composition and distribution. Many of the fish species that characterize the ACE Basin move in response to environmental cues, and because their reaction to cues may change with growth and development, few species mature in the area where they were spawned.

The extensive aquatic habitats of the ACE Basin study area that are used for spawning, nursery, and foraging areas support and maintain many fish populations.

As the linkage between anthropogenic impacts and declining fish abundance, health, and quality becomes clearer, the implications of increased population growth in areas surrounding the ACE Basin study area raise concerns. Because the southeast coastal zone is one of the nation's fastest growing regions, it is especially critical that the monitoring of fishes that are dependent on rivers and estuaries for their survival continues. It is also important that effects at the population and community level be linked to physical and hydrologic alteration, as well as water quality modifications.