, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 198–215 | Cite as

The fish community of a shallow tropical lagoon in Belize, Central America

  • George R. Sedberry
  • Jacque Carter


Trawl collections indicate that the fish community of the Belize barrier reef lagoon is dominated numerically and in biomass by grunts (Haemulidae), especiallyHaemulon sciurus andHaemulon flavolineatum. Although the gear selected for small sizes, length frequency analysis indicated seasonality in recruitment of the dominant species of grunts. Apogonids and tetraodontiform fishes were also dominant components of the community. Most fishes collected were juveniles of species that occur as adults on the main reef, or were small species that are resident in the lagoon. Of three habitats sampled, the mangrove creek had the greatest relative abundance and biomass of fishes, followed by the seagrass bed and the sand-rubble zone. There were no significant seasonal differences in fish relative abundance or biomass. Community structure analysis indicated a uniqueness in the mangrove fish community. Diversity (H′) was high, and was due to high species richness and evenness of distribution of individuals among species. The Belize barrier reef lagoon serves as an important nursery habitat for juvenile fishes.


Standard Length Barrier Reef Seagrass Habitat Mangrove Habitat Mangrove Creek 
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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • George R. Sedberry
    • 1
  • Jacque Carter
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Resources Research InstituteCharleston
  2. 2.Wildlife Conservation International and University of New EnglandBiddeford

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