Project Title: The effects of abiotic factors and food consumption on the growth rate of the Little Skate (Leucoraja erinacea)
Mentor: Kelsey James
Abstract: Leucoraja erinacea (Little Skates) are vital organisms in many ecosystems, including the coastal waters of RI. It is important to understand their growth to aid in management and conservation of the species. To better understand the factors that contribute to the growth of Little Skates, a captive growth study was conducted with forty-two Little Skates. Abiotic factors, such as water temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen, as well as food consumption were measured for eight months. Weight and length were analyzed and modeled against the different factors to determine the influence of each. Water temperature and food consumption showed to be the most influential on the growth of the Little Skate. This information is part of a larger ongoing project relating abiotic factors, food consumption, and growth of the vertebrae in skates. This will allow for a much broader understanding of the growth of the Little Skate and the species as a whole.