alexa Species-area relationship and environmental predictors of fish communities in coastal freshwater wetlands of southern Brazil
Agri and Aquaculture

Agri and Aquaculture

Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal

Author(s): Leonardo Maltchik, Luis Esteban Krause Lans, Cristina Stenert, Elvio S F Medeiros

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In the Neotropics where fragmentation is common, environmental factors structuring fish communities are poorly known. In this study two hypotheses were tested in 13 coastal wetlands of southern Brazil: 1) physical features (such as wetland area, habitat diversity, water depth and temperature, and water and sediment chemistry) are important determinants of richness, density and composition of fish assemblages; and 2) species richness and composition of fish assemblages differ between wetlands with different hydroperiods (i.e. permanent versus intermittent). A total of 1,597 individuals distributed among 20 species were collected. Richness was positively associated with wetland area and water depth and it was negatively associated with water conductivity. The species-area power function explained 27.3% of the variation in richness. Fish richness was similar between permanent and intermittent wetlands. The density was negatively associated with water depth and temperature, and it was positively correlated with water nitrate concentration. The first three axes from the CCA accounted for 55.5% of total variation in fish composition. The most important variables related to fish composition were percentage of sediment organic matter, phosphorus concentration, habitat diversity and water depth. Composition of fish species changed among permanent and intermittent wetlands. Understanding the environmental factors that shape and maintain the biodiversity in these ecosystems is essential to develop conservation and management programs of wetlands in this region, where more than 90% of wetland systems have already been lost due to anthropogenic activities.

This article was published in Environmental Biology of Fishes and referenced in Fisheries and Aquaculture Journal

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