Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 48(3): 553-563


Fish assemblage structure in relation to environmental conditions in a tropical estuary

Alicia González-Solis1 and Daniel Torruco1

1Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Unidad Mérida, Km. 6 Antigua Carretera a Progreso, A.P. 73 CORDEMEX, Mérida, Yucatán, México

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Fish community in Sabancuy Estuary, Mexico, was analyzed during 2 a dry and a rainy seasons using 14 environmental parameters and fish species abundance and biomass data. No significant differences in data were observed between seasons. Two environmental zones were defined within the estuary, one extending southwest from a bridge and the other northeast from the bridge to the estuary head. A total of 21 fish families and 32 species were recorded. The most abundant families were Gerridae, Sciaenidae, Sparidae, Lutjanidae and Ciprinodontidae. Diversity was high in the central lagoon. Fish community classification resulted in 3 assemblages with notable differences in spatial distribution. One was influenced by estuary communication with Terminos Lagoon, a second was at the estuary head and a third at the transitional zone near the bridge dividing the estuary. Ecological organization of the Estuary was divided into 2 areas by the bridge, with relative habitat and food resource scarcity and consequent species paucity at the 2 extremes. Phosphate concentrations had the most influence on fish community assemblage.

Key words:  Fish assemblage, spatial distribution, diversity, tropical estuary, Mexico