Temporal shifts in the abundance and feeding of a marine fish community in a coastal lagoon in southeastern Mexico

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Daniel Arceo-Carranza
Emanuel A Dorantes Acereto
Lesli C Hernández-Mendoza
Xavier Chiappa Carrara


Coastal lagoons are systems that are dominated by the environmental variability caused by seasonal or diel cycles, with a direct effect on fish community composition. The aim of this study was to evaluate the species composition of the fish communities on 2 seasonal scales and analyze the diet composition of marine fish species that use the lagoon at some stage of their life cycles. The study took place in the Carbonera lagoon on the northern coast of Yucatán. Fishes were collected bimonthly (from December 2010 to October 2011) every 2 h using a beach seine net over 24-h cycles. Hydrologic variables and fish community composition were evaluated at nychthemeral and seasonal scales, and significant changes in temperature and salinity were observed. Species richness and diversity of fishes were higher during the night time, with marine species like pigfish (Orthopristis chrysoptera), silver perch (Bairdiella chrysoura), striped mojarra (Eugerres plumieri), and grunts (Haemulon plumieri). Abundance was highest during the daytime because of the presence of schools of juvenile herrings (Harengula clupeola) and residents species (Floridichthys polyommus and Fundulus persimilis). The diet composition of 10 juvenile marine species were analyzed, and four main trophic guilds (piscivores, detritivores, mollusk feeders, and zoobenthivores) were found. The juvenile marine species of commercial value that use the Carbonera lagoon for feeding purposes are mullets, herrings, and grunts. Thus, this system provides resources for juvenile species that are important in artisanal fisheries, and it is therefore very important to make management plans for its protection and conservation.

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