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Ichthyofaunal assemblages in shallow littoral habitats of permanently open estuaries and intermittently closed and open lakes or lagoons (ICOLLs) in Otago, New Zealand
Fish assemblages of New Zealand estuaries are poorly studied, and knowledge of the influence of estuary–ocean connections on the ichthyofaunal composition of estuaries remains limited. Understanding the status of fish composition of estuaries is crucial for planning for sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. We sampled fish using a seine net from lower reaches of six permanently open estuaries and six intermittently closed and open lakes or lagoons (ICOLLs) along the Otago coastline during winter 2016 and summer 2017. Marked differences in ichthyofaunal composition were observed in the shallow littoral habitats of permanently open estuaries and ICOLLs. Fish assemblages reflected estuary–ocean connection status of estuaries during both seasons. Intermittently closed and open lakes or lagoons showed greater fish abundance than permanently open systems. Fish abundance was higher in summer than winter in both estuary types. Fish species with marine–estuarine opportunist and estuarine–migrant life histories dominated permanently open estuaries. On the other hand, species with a diadromous life history but are known to form landlocked populations were abundant in ICOLLs. Salinity and temperature correlated with fish abundance in both estuary types.
MF17334 Accepted 24 December 2017
© CSIRO 2017