Distributional patterns and community structure of Caribbean coral reef fishes within a river-impacted bay

Authors

  • J. Mallela,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Department Environmental & Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K., Max Plank Institute for Limnology, Department of Physiological Ecology, Postfach 165, 24302 Plön, Germany and § Department Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K.
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  • C. Roberts,

    1. * Department Environmental & Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K., Max Plank Institute for Limnology, Department of Physiological Ecology, Postfach 165, 24302 Plön, Germany and § Department Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K.
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  • C. Harrod,

    1. * Department Environmental & Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K., Max Plank Institute for Limnology, Department of Physiological Ecology, Postfach 165, 24302 Plön, Germany and § Department Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K.
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  • C. R. Goldspink

    1. * Department Environmental & Geographical Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K., Max Plank Institute for Limnology, Department of Physiological Ecology, Postfach 165, 24302 Plön, Germany and § Department Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K.
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‡Department of Life Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago. Tel.: +1 868 662 2002 ext. 3908; fax: +1 868 663 5241; email: j_mallela@yahoo.com

Abstract

This study examined how riverine inputs, in particular sediment, influenced the community structure and trophic composition of reef fishes within Rio Bueno, north Jamaica. Due to river discharge a distinct gradient of riverine inputs existed across the study sites. Results suggested that riverine inputs (or a factor associated with them) had a structuring effect on fish community structure. Whilst fish communities at all sites were dominated by small individuals (<20 cm), diversity and total biomass were reduced with increased proximity to the river mouth. The abundance of all fishes, but particularly small-bodied, juvenile and herbivorous fishes was reduced in turbid water when compared to clear-water sites. Results strongly suggest that fluvial sediment inputs may play an important role in structuring fish assemblages even under intense fishing pressure.

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