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The effect of seasonal variation in abiotic factors on fish community structure in temporary and permanent pools in a tropical wetland

Author:
ESCALERA‐VÁZQUEZ, LUIS H., ZAMBRANO, LUIS
Source:
Freshwater biology 2010 v.55 no.12 pp. 2557-2569
ISSN:
0046-5070
Subject:
animal communities, community structure, fish, freshwater, habitats, models, pH, seasonal variation, species diversity, surface water level, temperature, water quality, wetlands
Abstract:
1. Fish community structure depends on biotic interactions and abiotic variables. Abiotic variables appear to gain importance in highly variable freshwater systems, such as tropical wetlands where a marked seasonal hydroperiod (dry and wet seasons) modifies water quality and quantity, differentially affecting fish survival and, consequently, modifying species richness and abundance. 2. We evaluated the relationship between abiotic variables and fish community structure in variable (temporary) and stable (permanent) pools that were interconnected in a tropical wetland with marked annual dry and wet seasons. 3. All fish species were able to occupy any of the studied pools, but our results showed distinctive fish community structures in permanent and temporary pools. Community structure was related to temperature, depth, pH and macrophyte coverage. Total fish abundance in the wetland was negatively related to water depth and positively related to macrophyte coverage. 4. Null models of co‐occurrence indicated a non‐random pattern at the wetland scale and a random pattern within groups of pools with similar characteristics, suggesting that fish communities are structured according to habitat features. We conclude that seasonal abiotic variation and habitat characteristics in this highly variable pristine wetland play major roles in structuring fish communities.
Agid:
381225