Fish assemblages in different shallow water habitats of the Venice Lagoon

  • Anita Franco
  • Piero Franzoi
  • Stefano Malavasi
  • Federico Riccato
  • Patrizia Torricelli
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 183)


The small-sized fish assemblages of the Venice Lagoon were investigated and compared among five shallow subtidal habitats (seagrass beds, sparsely vegetated habitats, unvegetated sand bottoms, mudflats and saltmarsh creeks) in the Northern lagoon basin. Sampling was carried out seasonally (Spring, Summer and Autumn of 2002) in 4–7 stations for each habitat type, by means of a fine-mesh, small beach seine. Twoway analysis of variance was applied to assess the differences in species richness, fish diversity, density and standing stock amongst habitats, whereas fish assemblage composition was investigated by using multivariate analyses (MDS, ANOSIM, SIMPER). The analyses indicated that seagrass beds and saltmarsh creeks are relevant shallow habitats in structuring the small-sized fish assemblages of the Venice Lagoon, supporting specialized and recognizable fish assemblages. Those in seagrass beds, in particular, were characterized by higher species richness and standing stock with respect to all the others. The structuring role of these habitats was discussed in terms of both habitat complexity and degree of confinement. In contrast, sandy bottoms, mudflats and sparsely vegetated habitats were identified as “transition” habitats, with highly variable fish assemblages, influenced by the contribution of the adjacent habitats, and acting probably as both ‘buffer zones’ between the other habitats and migration routes for many fish species in the lagoon.

Key words

fish assemblages shallow waters seagrass beds marsh creeks Mediterranean Venice Lagoon 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita Franco
    • 1
  • Piero Franzoi
    • 1
  • Stefano Malavasi
    • 1
  • Federico Riccato
    • 1
  • Patrizia Torricelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VeneziaVeneziaItaly

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