Regional-scale patterns of habitat preference for the seahorse Hippocampus reidi in the tropical estuarine environment
- 348 Downloads
When dealing with species where local information on distribution and habitat preferences is insufficient or lacking (data poor), it is challenging for managers to determine effective measures for conservation. The purpose of this paper was to identify trends in habitat preference for a data-deficient seahorse species, Hippocampus reidi in northeastern Brazil. This is also the first study to use mixed-effect models to compare multiple datasets at a regional level for any seahorse species. Generalized linear mixed-effects models determined that shallow depths, warm temperatures and the number of holdfasts were the most important habitat variables in predicting seahorse presence in tropical estuaries. A log-likelihood ratio *G test found no difference between the proportion of adults and juveniles using various holdfasts, although adults used a greater diversity of holdfasts. The lack of difference in adult and juvenile habitat suggests either that H. reidi may not experience ontogenetic shifts in habitat or that habitat is not determining the distribution patterns of adults and juveniles within estuaries. Alternatively, habitat preference may be coupled with other factors to drive seahorse distribution within estuaries. Due to estuary importance in providing holdfast diversity and other conditions to seahorse use, conservation and management for H. reidi should also consider appropriate protection of estuarine areas, thus safeguarding habitat for both juveniles and adults.
KeywordsSyngnathids Brazil Mangrove Ecology Mixed effects Data-poor
The authors would like to thank the Universidade Federal da Paraiba and the Universidade Federal do Ceará, for training and support with fieldwork. This research was funded by the William J. Fulbright Scholarship Foundation, the PADI Foundation and the Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza. We thank P. Malloy for his statistical insights and the research assistants from Ceará, Mangue Vivo and the Colonia de Pescadores No. 17 Itarema. Special thanks are due to Glaura Barros and E. Romao for their logistical support throughout the duration of fieldwork. Research permits were provided by Seretaria Estadual do Meio Ambiente do Ceará (SEMACE) and SISBIO.
This research was funded by the William J. Fulbright Scholarship Foundation and the Fundação Grupo Boticário de Proteção à Natureza.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This research followed animal ethical protocols as required by the Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil.
- Aylesworth L, Lawson JM, Laksanawimol P, Ferber P, Loh TL. New records of the Japanese seahorse Hippocampus mohnikei Bleeker 1853, in Southeast Asia lead to updates in range, habitat and threats. J Fish Biol (submitted)Google Scholar
- Bates D, Maechler M, Bolker B (2011) Lme4: linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes. R-project.org, R package version 0.999375-42. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4
- Baum JK, Meeuwig JJ, Vincent ACJ (2003) Bycatch of seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) in a Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery. Fish Bull 101:721–731Google Scholar
- Beck MW, Heck KLJR, Able KW, Childers DL et al (2003) The role of nearshore ecosystems as fish and shellfish nurseries. Issues Ecol 11:1–12Google Scholar
- Benjamini Y, Hochberg Y (1995) Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J R Stat Soc Ser B (Methodol) 57:289–300Google Scholar
- Blaber SJM (1997) Fish and fisheries of tropical estuaries. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Blaber SJM (2000) Tropical estuarine fishes: ecology, exploitation and conservation. Fish and aquatic resource series no. 7. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Castellano-Galindos GA, Cantera JR, Espinosa S, Mejia-ladino LM (2011) Use of local ecological knowledge, scientist’ observation and grey literature to assess marine species at risk in a tropical eastern Pacific estuary. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 21:37–48. doi: 10.1002/aqc.1163 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dias T, Rosa IL (2003) Habitat preferences of a seahorse species, Hippocampus reidi (Teleostei: Syngnathidae) in Brazil. J Ichthyol Aquat Biol 6:165–176Google Scholar
- Gutierrez LP, Cuberto YP, Wong R, Monteagudo P (2011) Study of seahorse populations in two areas in the North coast of La Havana and Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Rev Cienc Mar Costeras 3:171–181Google Scholar
- IBAMA (2011) Proposta de plano de gestão para o uso sustentável de cavalos-marinhos do Brasil. Instituto Brasileira do Meia Ambiente, BrasiliaGoogle Scholar
- IUCN (2012) The IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2012.1. IUCN Global Species Programme Red List Unit, Cambridge. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 19 June 2012
- Krumme U, Liang TH (2004) Tidal-induced changes in a copepod-dominated zooplankton community in a macrotidal mangrove channel in Northern Brazil. Zool Stud 43:404–414Google Scholar
- Lourie SA, Vincent ACJ, Hall HJ (1999) Seahorses: an identification guide to the world’s seahorse species and their conservation. Project Seahorse, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Lourie SA, SJ Foster, Cooper EWT, Vincent ACJ (2004) A guide to the identification of seahorses. Project Seahorse and TRAFFIC North America, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Mai ACG, Rosa IL (2009) Aspectos ecológicos do cavalo-marinho Hippocampus reidi no estuário Camurupim/Cardoso, Piauí, Brasil, fornecendo subsídios para a criação de uma Área de Proteção Integral Aspectos ecológicos do cavalo-marinho Hippocampus reidi no estuário Camurupim. Biota Neotrop 9:85–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Masonjones HD, Rose E, McRae LB, Dixon DL (2010) An examination of the population dynamics of syngnathid fishes within Tampa Bay, Florida, USA. Curr Zool 56:118–133Google Scholar
- Ministério do Meio Ambiente (2014) Portaria no. 445. Brasilia, Brazil.Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2011) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. ISBN: 3-900051-07-0. http://www.R-project.org
- Stimmelmayr R, Sullivan M, Latchman V (2008) Recent sightings of longsnout seahorse, Hippocampus reidi in the marine environment of St. Kitts, Lesser Antilles. In: Proceedings of the 11th international coral reef symposium, vol 26, pp 1392–1393Google Scholar
- Xavier JHDA, Cordeiro CAMM, Tenório GD, Diniz ADF, Paulo Junior EPN, Rosa RS, Rosa I (2012) Fish assemblage of the Mamanguape Environmental Protection Area, NE Brazil: abundance, composition and microhabitat availability along the mangrove-reef gradient. Environ Prot 10:109–122Google Scholar
- Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis, 4th edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar