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Inter-estuarine and temporal patterns of the fish assemblage of subtropical subestuaries along the Río de la Plata coast (Uruguay)

Alicia Acuña, Nathalie Muñoz, Rodrigo Gurdek, Irene Machado, Veronica Severi

Abstract


Fish assemblages in subestuaries have been poorly studied worldwide. In order to evaluate the inter-estuarine and temporal variability of the ichthyofauna of subestuaries along the Uruguayan coast of the Río de la Plata (RdlP), the Pando, Solís Chico and Solís Grande systems were sampled between 2011 and 2013. Fish biomass, abundance, species richness and diversity indices were analysed, defining fish assemblages characterised by a few species and great abundance. Estuarine resident and freshwater species represented 55.5% of the fish assemblage according to estuarine use guilds. Species occurrence was similar in the three subestuaries, but the relative abundances differed among them. The analysed community parameters showed a decreasing trend from west to east along the Uruguayan coast. Highest diversity and fish abundance were recorded in the Pando system located in the proximities of an important spawning area in the inner RdlP estuary. In the Solís Grande subestuary occurred the lowest species richness and fish abundance. The Solís Chico was characterised as a transitional subsystem. All three subestuaries showed an increase in species richness and abundance during high temperature periods, probably related to the life cycle of the species sharing habitats between the RdlP and the coastal subestuaries. This study constitutes the first step in assessing the fish assemblage patterns in coastal ecosystems of the RdlP and an approach about the ecological role of the subestuaries in the southwest Atlantic Ocean.

Keywords


Species diversity; Ichthyofauna; Estuarine systems; Variability patterns; South American estuaries; Community parameters

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s1679-87592017131106502

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