Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 21–35 | Cite as

Body condition in fish as a tool to detect the effects of anthropogenic pressures in transitional waters

  • Francesco CavraroEmail author
  • Nicola Bettoso
  • Matteo Zucchetta
  • Alessandro D’Aietti
  • Lisa Faresi
  • Piero Franzoi


In the last years, increasing interest has been dedicated to the quality assessment of brackish-water systems. Traditionally, fish community is an important biological element used to assess the quality status of transitional water bodies. In this study, we analysed the effect of anthropogenic pressures on the population of a small teleost, the sand smelt Atherina boyeri, in a Mediterranean lagoon by means of body condition. Fish were sampled once a year during the period 2010–2012, in 32 sampling sites, and for each specimen individual body condition factor was estimated. A negative significant correlation was found between condition factor and pressures related to alteration of the hydrographic regime, while a significant positive correlation was found with trophic status indicators and fishery activities. Therefore, morphological and hydrological alteration of coastal lagoons, modifying the quality and the availability of resources, seems to influence the health of resident populations.


Atherina boyeri Bioindication Condition factor Coastal lagoon 



We would like to thank T. Ghenda, A. Longo and E. Lugnan for their precious help during the field activities, and G. Mattassi for his supervision. The collection of data used in the present work was funded by ARPA FVG, as part of the monitoring activities carried out for the implementation of the WFD.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and StatisticsCa’ Foscari University VeniceVenice, MestreItaly
  2. 2.ARPA FVG, Regional Agency for Environmental Protection in the Friuli Venezia Giulia regionPalmanovaItaly

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