Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 12, Issue 2–3, pp 167–177 | Cite as

Exploration of spatial and temporal patterns of fish diversity and composition in a tropical estuarine system of Mexico

  • Manuel Castillo-Rivera
  • José Alejandro Zavala-Hurtado
  • Rocío Zárate


There are many studies of fish assemblages intemperate systems, but little informationexists about tropical estuarine systems,particularly in the Western Atlantic Regionincluding Mexico. We investigated the fishcommunity structure in the Pueblo Viejo lagoon,Veracruz. Biological samples were collectedmonthly for one year at six sites: three withdense stands of Ruppia maritima and threesites without submerged vegetation. For eachsample, temperature, salinity, dissolvedoxygen, turbidity and depth were analyzed. Theunbiased Simpson diversity index, CanonicalCorrespondence Analysis (CCA) and DiscriminantAnalysis (DA) were used to analyze the fishcommunity. Environmental abiotic variablestended to show significant temporal, but notspatial differences. Fish diversity showedonly a weak significant correlation with watertemperature, and relatively strong diversitypeaks, from June to August and April, wererelated to production peaks in the system. Thetwo first axes of CCA accounted for 65% of thespecies-environment biplot variance, whichsuggested that monthly changes of salinity,turbidity and precipitation, and presence orabsence of submerged vegetation, were the mostimportant environmental variables indetermining the observed variability in fishcommunity composition. Further, fish diversitywas significantly different between habitatswith and those without the presence ofsubmerged vegetation (P < 0.02). A DA showedsignificant differences (P < 0.03) in fishcommunity composition between both kinds ofhabitats, with Lagodon rhomboides,Mugil curema and Menidia beryllina(substantially more abundant in habitat withsubmerged vegetation) as the most importantspecies in the discrimination of spatial fishcomposition. Considering both habitatscombined, fewer differences were observed infish diversity and community compositionbetween rainy and dry seasons. Fish communitycomposition showed greater similarity betweenseasons than between habitats, despite the factthat environmental abiotic variables showed aninverse pattern, suggesting that site factors,such as the presence of submerged vegetation,play a more important role in the maintenanceof fish community patterns than those relatedto temporal influence.

Canonical Correspondence Analysis Discriminant Analysis fish communities fish diversity submerged vegetation tropical system 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel Castillo-Rivera
    • 1
  • José Alejandro Zavala-Hurtado
    • 1
  • Rocío Zárate
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de BiologíaUniversidad Autónoma MetropolitanaMéxico D.F.

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