Environmental drivers of fish community functional diversity in arid mangroves compared to a tropical estuary

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Juan Ángel Payan-Alcacio
Gustavo De la Cruz-Agüero
Rodrigo Moncayo-Estrada

Abstract

Mangroves are important habitats for fish across latitudinal gradients, but few studies have examined fish community functional diversity in mangroves from arid environments. To address this, we assembled 11 morpho-functional traits and taxonomic diversity for 123 fish species and environmental characteristics from 3 mangrove ecosystems in the Gulf of California, where arid conditions prevail. We compared these arid mangrove fish communities to a semitropical community in an estuarine condition to analyze functionality. Arid mangrove fish communities were similar to each other, but different from semitropical estuarine fish communities (R = 0.951, P = 0.007). Mangrove fish communities had higher trait diversity than the estuarine community, but the estuary had higher redundancy. Taxonomic diversity showed a latitudinal gradient, with the southernmost site in the arid region functioning as a transition site to estuarine communities. Despite the different taxonomic composition, the functional structure remained similar in the fish communities within the arid region and had higher counts of diverse traits than the site with estuarine conditions. High salinity and evaporation deficit in the arid mangroves relaxed habitat filtering pressures relative to the estuarine conditions, where the higher tolerance to salinity changes imposes redundant morphologies. Future studies should focus on seasonal variation of environmental effects on the functional aspects of the fish community.

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WSN Research articles