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Spatial variability of fish fauna in sheltered and exposed shallow rocky reefs from a recently established Mediterranean Marine Protected Area

Pais, Antonio and Azzurro, Ernesto and Guidetti, Paolo (2007) Spatial variability of fish fauna in sheltered and exposed shallow rocky reefs from a recently established Mediterranean Marine Protected Area. Italian Journal of Zoology, Vol. 74 (3), p. 277-287. eISSN 1748-5851. Article.

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DOI: 10.1080/11250000701456984

Abstract

Abstract Coastal exposure may affect the structure of littoral fish assemblages. To evaluate its effects, fish assemblages associated with shallow (0-3 m depth) rocky reefs were investigated by visual census at the Asinara Island National Park (northwestern Sardinia, Italy, Mediterranean Sea) during autumn 2003. Distribution patterns of ichthyofauna in sheltered and exposed rocky reefs were assessed over the spatial scales of locations (i.e. kilometres) and sites (i.e. hundreds of metres). Overall, 38 fish taxa belonging to 17 families were recorded, with Labridae, Sparidae and Serranidae being the families with the most species. Univariate analyses showed that the average density of Labridae and Serranidae was significantly greater at sheltered locations, while particulate organic matter feeders (i.e. Mugilidae) were more abundant at the exposed ones. Significant differences in species richness, total fish abundance and densities of Labridae and planktivorous fish were observed at the spatial scale of sites. Multivariate analyses revealed that whole fish assemblages differed more at the scale of locations than among sites. Planktivorous species contributed most to the dissimilarity between fish assemblages associated with exposed and sheltered stretches of coast. Direct and indirect effects of coastal exposure were hypothesized to explain the potential role of wave action in structuring fish assemblages associated with shallow rocky reefs. In particular, direct effects could affect the distribution patterns of fish, depending on their swimming ability, while indirect effects could include changes in the benthic cover (especially macroalgae) caused by wave action, which then had a repercussion on the fish.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:1915
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords:Fish assemblages, coastal exposure, spatial variability, visual census, Asinara Island, Mediterranean Sea
Subjects:Area 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie > AGR/20 Zoocolture
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01 Dipartimenti > Scienze zootecniche
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
eISSN:1748-5851
Deposited On:18 Aug 2009 10:06

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