Marine Biology

, Volume 147, Issue 1, pp 77–91 | Cite as

Larval fish assemblages in Independencia Bay, Pisco, Peru: temporal and spatial relationships

  • J. A. Vélez
  • W. Watson
  • W. Arntz
  • M. Wolff
  • S. B. Schnack-Schiel
Research Article


The structure of the larval fish assemblages in Independencia Bay on the coast of Peru was examined using a combination of univariate and multivariate techniques. The plankton of Independencia Bay was sampled during 2000, to ascertain ichthyoplankton composition, abundance, and seasonality. These data were used to assess the function of the bay as spawning and nursery grounds and were related to the regional oceanography. In total, 16,156 fish larvae, representing 34 families, 48 genera, and 48 species were collected. Engraulidae, Normanichthyidae, Blenniidae, Gobiesocidae, Haemulidae, Labrisomidae, Pinguipedidae, and Atherinidae comprised 96.8% of the larvae captured; the remaining 3.2% included 26 families. Greatest mean larval fish densities, 319–1,381 per 100 m3, were recorded between September and November, suggesting a major spring spawning period. The most abundant fish larvae during this period were preflexion stage mote sculpins (Normanichthyidae) and newly hatched and preflexion stage anchovies (Engraulidae). A second, smaller summer peak was dominated by preflexion stage anchovies, followed by preflexion stage mote sculpins. The occurrence of high larval fish densities and the wide range of larval stages suggest that Independencia Bay is a regionally important spawning and nursery ground for marine fish. The principal component analysis showed that temperature and salinity were the dominant variables within the first two principal components, which accounted for 74.4% of the variation in environmental conditions. These conditions varied over time, station, and depth; however, interaction terms could not clearly be identified. Fitting a multinomial logistic model showed that larval fish assemblages and environmental conditions were associated in a complex way. The spring and summer ichthyoplankton abundance peaks in Independencia Bay coincided with high zooplankton standing stock and also coincided approximately with the periods of increased upwelling in the area.


Fish Larva Nursery Area Nursery Ground Larval Abundance Spring Peak 
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The authors wish to express their thanks to Prof. Dr. J. Mendo and his working group at the National University La Molina, Lima, for their assistance in the sampling operations in Peru. The first author is indebted to the ichthyoplankton groups of IMARPE, Peru, the SWFSC, La Jolla, California, and CICIMAR, Mexico, for giving support and providing space and equipment in their laboratories. Special thanks to Dr. H. Browman and Dr. H.G. Moser for revision and critical reading of an earlier draft, to E. Sandknop, V. Growney, D. Ambrose, S. Charter, R. Charter, N. Bowlin, and S. Zao from SWFSC, La Jolla, for their support and patience. Special thanks to Dr. W. Wosniok and Dr. J. Ragua-Gil for their help with the statistical analysis. H. Orr and R. Krocker kindly helped by improving Figs. 5–7. Dr. J. Laudien gave advice, and Dr. G. Eagles improved the senior author’s English. Thanks to Dr. J. Tarazona for providing some oceanographic data to complete the analysis. Special thanks to Dr. E. Brinton for his trust, help, and hospitality provided to the senior author in La Jolla, Calif. This study was supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Vélez
    • 1
  • W. Watson
    • 2
  • W. Arntz
    • 1
  • M. Wolff
    • 3
  • S. B. Schnack-Schiel
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Southwest Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServiceUSA
  3. 3.Center for Tropical Marine EcologyBremenGermany

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