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Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 718–730 | Cite as

Fish, Macroinvertebrate and Epifaunal Communities in Shallow Coastal Lagoons with Varying Seagrass Cover of the Northern Gulf of Mexico

  • Rachel B. McDonaldEmail author
  • Ryan M. Moody
  • Ken L. Heck
  • Just Cebrian
Article

Abstract

Coastal lagoons are ubiquitous along coastlines worldwide. Here, we compare the abundance of epifauna, seagrass-associated macroinvertebrates, and small fish across a gradient of seagrass cover in shallow coastal lagoons of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Two of the lagoons had little or no seagrass cover (0–18.8 %), and four had high cover (83.8–97.5 %). All of the lagoons were partially covered with fringing marsh. We hypothesized that, due to habitat redundancy between seagrass beds and fringing marshes, seagrass-associated fish and macroinvertebrates would not be largely reduced despite the large differences in seagrass cover among the lagoons. Our results support this hypothesis. For most sampling dates, we did not find significant differences in fish and macroinvertebrate abundance among the lagoons and, when we did, several highly vegetated lagoons did not have larger abundances than sparsely vegetated lagoons. The extreme shallowness of the lagoons studied (<1 m) may also provide further protection from large predatory fishes in the absence of seagrasses. Our results also suggest that marsh detritus, by providing habitat for epifauna and helping maintain prey availability, may further temper reductions in seagrass-associated fishes and macroinvertebrates following seagrass decline. The results highlight the importance of marsh-bordered, shallow lagoons as habitat for small fish and macroinvertebrates regardless of seagrass cover. This study contributes to the characterization of habitat redundancy in coastal ecosystems and pinpoints the importance of considering all habitats in concert for the proper understanding and management of coastal ecosystems.

Keywords

Coastal lagoons Seagrass Nekton Epifauna Fringing marsh Gulf of Mexico 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank all of the technicians and interns who assisted in the field, especially J. Goff, S. Kerner, D. Byron, W. Scheffel, C. Havard, J. Gulbranson, A. Macy, J. Reynolds, J. Hemphill, M. Metcalf, L. Schumacher, and J. McDonald. We are thankful to Sharon Herzka for providing valuable comments on prior versions of the manuscript. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable insights and improvement of the manuscript. This project was funded by a Shelby Center Fisheries Grant.

Supplementary material

12237_2015_31_MOESM1_ESM.doc (58 kb)
ESM 1 List of all species/taxa of macroinvertebrates and fish captured in our study. Numbers are total counts for all lagoons for all sampling dates (DOC 162 bytes)
12237_2015_31_MOESM2_ESM.doc (42 kb)
ESM 2 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of rainwater killifish. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 42 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM3_ESM.doc (41 kb)
ESM 3 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of penaeid shrimp. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 41 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM4_ESM.doc (40 kb)
ESM 4 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of blue crab. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 39 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM5_ESM.doc (39 kb)
ESM 5 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of inland silverside. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 39 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM6_ESM.doc (39 kb)
ESM 6 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of clown goby. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 39 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM7_ESM.doc (38 kb)
ESM 7 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of spotfin mojarra. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 38 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM8_ESM.doc (38 kb)
ESM 8 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of code goby. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 38 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM9_ESM.doc (38 kb)
ESM 9 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of darter goby. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 38 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM10_ESM.doc (39 kb)
ESM 10 Abundance (individuals per square meter) of spot an abundant non-seagrass-associated species. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown as pertinent (i.e., for each sampling date separately or pooling all dates together, see text). Green symbols correspond to highly vegetated lagoons and orange symbols to sparsely vegetated lagoons (see text): S = Spanish Cove; K = Kee’s Bayou; P = State Park; L = Langley Point; J = Joe’s Site; G = Gongora. ns: non-significant (DOC 39 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM11_ESM.doc (188 kb)
ESM 11 Penaeid shrimp length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 188 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM12_ESM.doc (178 kb)
ESM 12 Blue crab length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 177 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM13_ESM.doc (126 kb)
ESM 13 Inland silverside length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 126 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM14_ESM.doc (111 kb)
ESM 14 Clown goby length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 111 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM15_ESM.doc (143 kb)
ESM 15 Spotfin mojarra length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 143 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM16_ESM.doc (114 kb)
ESM 16 Code goby length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 114 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM17_ESM.doc (166 kb)
ESM 17 Darter goby length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 166 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM18_ESM.doc (176 kb)
ESM 18 Spot length histograms. Values on the y-axis denote the percent of individuals captured, and values on the x-axis correspond to length expressed in mm. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown above corresponding sampling dates across the top of the graph (see Table 4). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant; na: not applicable (we did not capture two or more individuals in at least two of the lagoons on the given date) (DOC 175 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM19_ESM.doc (42 kb)
ESM 19 Abundance of epifaunal shrimp (penaeid, alpheidae and other carideans) captured with suction sampling. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 42 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM20_ESM.doc (44 kb)
ESM 20 Abundance of epifaunal gastropods captured with suction sampling. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 43 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM21_ESM.doc (41 kb)
ESM 21 Abundance of epifaunal crabs (xanthidae and portunidae) captured with suction sampling. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 41 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM22_ESM.doc (41 kb)
ESM 22 Abundance of epifaunal paguridae captured with suction sampling. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 41 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM23_ESM.doc (42 kb)
ESM 23 Abundance of epifaunal tanaids captured with suction sampling. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 42 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM24_ESM.doc (42 kb)
ESM 24 Abundance of epifaunal mysids captured with suction sampling. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 42 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM25_ESM.doc (40 kb)
ESM 25 Abundance of epifaunal echinoderms captured with suction sampling. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 40 kb)
12237_2015_31_MOESM26_ESM.doc (43 kb)
ESM 26 Abundance of total epifauna captured with suction sampling comprised of the groups amphipods, isopods, shrimp (penaeid, alpheidae, and other carideans), gastropods, crabs (xanthidae and portunidae), paguridae, tanaids, mysids, and echinoderms. Before plotting, 1 was added to each abundance value and this sum was log transformed. Plotted values denote the mean for each lagoon and sampling date, and the line on the values denotes ± SE. Tukey comparisons among lagoons are shown for each sampling date separately (see text). Symbols as in Fig. 2. ns: non-significant (DOC 43 kb)

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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel B. McDonald
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ryan M. Moody
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ken L. Heck
    • 1
    • 2
  • Just Cebrian
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dauphin Island Sea LabDauphin IslandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Marine SciencesUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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