Effect of environment on spatio-temporal structuring of fish assemblages in a monsoon-influenced tropical estuary

  • G. B. SreekanthEmail author
  • A. K. Jaiswar
  • P. U. Zacharia
  • D. G. Pazhayamadom
  • S. K. Chakraborty


This study analyzes the trophic structure of fish assemblages in a well-mixed tropical estuary, Zuari, located in southwest coast of India. A total of 224 fish species were collected between September 2013 and August 2016 from 324 sampling events from 9 sampling stations using surface and bottom set gillnets. The sampling events were designed to cover three major seasons such as the pre-monsoon, monsoon, and post-monsoon. For each sampling event, abiotic variables such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and transparency of the water were recorded. The data obtained for abundance of fish species was subjected to cluster analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling. The results defined six spatio-temporally varying groups (clusters) within Zuari estuary. Canonical correspondence analysis demonstrated that temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and transparency were important in determining the fish assemblages in Zuari. The estuarine resident species were abundant in the inner zone (riverine side) of the estuary, where the salinity and temperature recorded lower dimensions compared to middle and outer zones (marine side). However, the inner shallow zone of the estuary was not a preferred habitat for the migrating marine species. Majority of the fish species preferred middle and outer zones and post-monsoon and pre-monsoon seasons for inhabiting the estuary. The present study furnishes a reference data for the spatio-temporal dynamics of fish assemblages in tropical monsoonal estuaries.


Fish assemblage Trophic guild Monsoon-influenced tropical estuary Zuari Spatio-temporal structure 



Authors thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments and suggestions have significantly improved the manuscript. The authors are grateful to Director, ICAR-CCARI, Director, ICAR-CIFE, Mumbai, Dr. Bappa Das, Scientist, ICAR-CCARI, and the staff of the Fisheries Department, for their support and guidance in this study. We express our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Vishwajeet Prajapati, KVK, North Goa, and research scholars (Department of Fisheries and Goa University) and fishermen along the Zuari estuary for their kind cooperation, technical help with the fishing experiments, sample collections, and digital aids, in particular, Mr. Sanjay Pereira, (Head of Shree Shantadurga Fishermen Association, Tiswadi, North Goa) who provided assistance in site selection and sampling.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. B. Sreekanth
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. K. Jaiswar
    • 2
  • P. U. Zacharia
    • 3
  • D. G. Pazhayamadom
    • 4
  • S. K. Chakraborty
    • 2
  1. 1.ICAR-Central Coastal Agricultural Research InstituteOld GoaIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries EducationMumbaiIndia
  3. 3.ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research InstituteKochiIndia
  4. 4.BakewellAustralia

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