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

Spatiotemporal variation among demersal ichthyofauna in a subtropical estuary bordering World Heritage-listed and marine protected areas: implications for resource management

Fernanda E. Possatto A F , Matt K. Broadhurst B C , Charles A. Gray D E , Henry L. Spach A and Marcelo R. Lamour A

A Centro de Estudos do Mar – Universidade Federal do Paraná, Avenida Beira Mar s/n, 83255-976, Pontal do Sul, Pontal do Paraná, PR, Brazil.

B NSW Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries Conservation Technology Unit, PO Box 4321, Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450, Australia.

C Marine and Estuarine Ecology Unit, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.

D WildFish Research, c/o Post Office Grays Point, Grays Point, NSW 2232, Australia.

E Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: fernandapossatto@yahoo.com.br

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF15345
Submitted: 8 September 2015  Accepted: 16 March 2016   Published online: 17 June 2016

Abstract

Benthic trawl surveys were performed to quantify the spatiotemporal distributions of teleosts and key abiotic associations throughout an ecologically important estuary within Brazil’s Atlantic Forest biosphere. Approximately 52 000 fish (51% juveniles) representing 75 species were sampled, with residents accounting for 36 and 61% of total species and individuals respectively. Five artisanally important species comprised 77 and 81% of individuals and biomass respectively. Cathorops spixii was most abundant (>40% of total), whereas Stellifer rastrifer, Aspistor luniscutis, Sphoeroides greeleyi and S. testudineus collectively contributed towards 37 and 34% of individuals and biomass respectively. The abundance of A. luniscutis, C. spixii and S. rastrifer was negatively associated with salinity, whereas the presence of the latter two species was also positively associated with temperature, and S. greeleyi and S. testudineus (mostly adults) were more abundant in deeper areas. These relationships seemed to be affected by species-specific reproductive (S. rastrifer, C. spixii and A. luniscutis), habitat (S. greeleyi and S. testudineus) and prey preferences (juvenile C. spixii and A. luniscutis). Protection for these various species may be achieved via immediate fishing effort regulations, but more research is required to manage other anthropogenic effects. Such work should be a priority to ultimately preserve what is one of the most important South American biodiversity areas.

Additional keywords: biodiversity hotspot, estuary function, fish community, fish distribution, nursery, Paranaguá estuarine complex.


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