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Spatial and temporal variation of the nekton and hyperbenthos from a temperate European estuary with regulated freshwater inflow

AuthorsDrake, Pilar ; Arias, Alberto M. ; Baldó, Francisco; Cuesta, José A. ; Rodríguez, Antonio ; Silva-García, Alfonso; Sobrino, Ignacio; García-González, Diego L. ; Fernández-Delgado, Carlos
Guadalquivir estuary
Physicochemical conditions
European estuaries
Issue DateJun-2002
PublisherEstuarine Research Federation
CitationEstuaries and Coasts 25(3): 451-468 (2002)
AbstractThe aquatic macrofauna of the Guadalquivir estuary were sampled (1 mm mesh persiana net) at 5 sampling sites located along the entire (except the tidal freshwater region) estuarine gradient of salinity (outer 50 km). A total of 134 fish and macroinvertebrate species was collected but only 62 were considered common or regularly present in the estuary. Univariate measures of the community structure showed statistically significant differences among sampling sites: species richness, abundance, and biomass decreased in the upstream direction, being positively correlated with the salinity. Temporal differences of these three variables were also statistically significant. While a clear seasonal pattern (minimum densities in winter and maximum in spring-summer) was observed for abundance and biomass, no such pattern existed for the number of species. Mysids was the most dominant group throughout the estuary (96% to 99% of abundance; 49% to 85% of biomass), although fish biomass was also important at the outer estuary (36% to 38%). Multivariate analyses indicated highly significant spatial variation in the macrofaunal communities observed along the salinity gradient. These analyses suggest that the underlying structure was a continuum with more or less overlapping distributions of the species dependent on their ability to tolerate different physicochemical conditions. There were also significant temporal (intermonthly + interannual) variation of the estuarine community; the relative multivariate dispersion indicated that monthly variation was more considerable (relative multivariate dispersion >1) at the outer part of the estuary during the wet year (last 20 km) and was higher in the inner stations during the dry year (32 to 50 km from the river mouth). Since a clear negative exponential relationship was observed between the freshwater input (from a dam located 110 km upstream) and water salinity at all sampling stations, it is concluded that the human freshwater management is probably affecting the studied estuarine communities. While the higher seasonal (long-term) stability of the salinity gradient, due to the human control of the freshwater input, may facilitate the recruitment of marine species juveniles during the meteorologically unstable early-spring, the additional (short-term) salinity fluctuations during the warm period may negatively affect species that complete their lifecycle within the estuary.
Description18 páginas, 11 figuras, 8 tablas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02695987
Appears in Collections:(ICMAN) Artículos
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