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Fish assemblage in a temperate estuary on the uruguayan coast: seasonal variation and environmental influence

Alicia Acuña Plavan, Cecilia Passadore, Luis Gimenez

Abstract


The seasonal dynamics of the fish community in the Pando estuary on the Uruguayan coast were studied in relation to environmental sampled monthly between May 2002 and June 2003. Individuals collected were identified, and classified into stages (juveniles, adults) and functional groups. Relationships between community dynamics and environmental variables were evaluated using uni- and multivariate techniques. Twenty-one species, mostly freshwater stragglers, estuarine and marine migrants were collected. The most abundant species were Micropogonias furnieri, Mugil platanus, Paralichthys orbignyanus and Brevoortia aurea and were represented by juveniles. The community varied seasonally with rapid shifts in spring and autumn associated with changes in temperature and salinity. Significant correlations between abundance and temperature may be related to the timing of life cycle events. In this estuary, the salinity appears to play a key role in the functional structure and in the use of the habitat by juveniles. This is relevant for the definition of estuaries as nursery areas: this definition is context-dependent and is determined by the salinity conditions.

Keywords


Estuary;Fish assemblage;Pando Estuary;Río de la Plata;Annual variation;Environmental variables

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-87592010000400005

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