Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 1004–1010 | Cite as

The disruption and recovery of fish communities in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, following two hurricanes in 2004

  • R. PapernoEmail author
  • D. M. Tremain
  • D. H. Adams
  • A. P. Sebastian
  • J. T. Sauer
  • J. Dutka-Gianelli


During the summer of 2004, four hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne) affected Florida between August 13 and September 27. Two storms (Frances: category 2 and Jeanne: category 3) made landfall in the southern portion of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) on the east-central coast of Florida. The presence of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's long-term fisheries monitoring program in the IRL provided a unique opportunity to examine the effects of large tropical events on estuarine fish communities. Increased sampling efforts to monitor the effects of tropical disturbances on the fish community within the IRL and one of its major tributaries (St. Sebastian River) were initiated within days after the passing of the last hurricane (Jeanne). The objectives of the study were to characterize changes to the composition of the fish community within the lagoon and river immediately after the passage of two hurricanes, and to examine the recovery of the fish communities. Analyses indicated that immediately after the last hurricane passed, community diversity within the estuary decreased following these storms due to the absence of many marine species, whereas the fish community within the St. Sebastian River shifted to one containing a greater percentage of freshwater species. Recovery of the community structure to pre-hurricane conditions was evident within several weeks following the last hurricane, and by mid December 2004 (ca. 3 mo after the last storm), there was little difference between the pre-hurricane and post-hurricane fish communities.


Fish Community Fish Assemblage Marine Ecology Progress Series Freshwater Inflow Indian River Lagoon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Paperno
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. M. Tremain
    • 1
  • D. H. Adams
    • 1
  • A. P. Sebastian
    • 1
  • J. T. Sauer
    • 1
  • J. Dutka-Gianelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian River Field LaboratoryFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research InstituteMelbourne

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