Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Difference in the trophic structure of fish communities between artificial and natural habitats in a tropical estuary

Pedro Henrique Cipresso Pereira A C E , Marcus Vinicius Bezerra dos Santos B C , Daniel Lino Lippi B C , Pedro Henrique de Paula Silva C and Breno Barros D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, 2/2 Eden Street, Belgian Gardens, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia.

B Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), Departamento de Oceanografia, CTG Avenida Arquitetura, s/n, Cidade Universitária, 50670-901, Recife, PE, Brazil.

C Reef Conservation Project – Projeto Conservação Recifal, Departamento de Oceanografia, CTG Avenida Arquitetura, s/n, Cidade Universitária, 50670-901, Recife, PE, Brazil.

D Universidade Federal do Pará, Instituto de Estudos Costeiros, Alameda Leandro Ribeiro, s/n, Aldeia, CEP 68600-000 Bragança, Pará, Brazil.

E Corresponding author. Email: pedro.pereira@my.jcu.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 68(3) 473-483 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF15326
Submitted: 20 August 2015  Accepted: 17 February 2016   Published: 20 May 2016

Abstract

The present study tested the hypothesis that artificial habitats (pier and bridge) harbour different fish trophic guilds compared with natural habitats (mangrove roots) and that the trophic structure of fish communities on estuarine artificial habitats resembles adjacent coral reefs. High-definition cameras were used to survey the fish community associated with the different structures over a 6-month period. Benthos was also analysed following the point intercept method on the different habitats. In the estuary, fish abundance was up to threefold higher and species richness twofold higher on artificial structures compared with the natural habitat. Mangrove roots were mainly inhabited by juvenile carnivores, whereas the pier and bridge were mostly inhabited by sessile invertebrate feeders and roving herbivores. A less diverse benthic community was found on mangrove roots, mostly composed of mud and algae. In contrast, benthos at the bridge and pier was more diverse and dominated by sponges, octocorals and oysters. In addition, fish trophic structure from an adjacent coral reef area showed more than 60% similarity with the fish community on the artificial structures surveyed. The results of the present study indicate that artificial hard structures support unique fish communities compared with natural estuarine mangrove habitats.

Additional keywords: benthic composition, coral reefs, fish distribution, habitat use, man-made structures.


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