DISTRIBUTION AND DENSITY OF ICHTHYOPLANKTON IN THE BAHÍA MÁLAGA ESTUARY, PACIFIC COAST OF COLOMBIA (SEPTEMBER 2009-FEBRUARY 2010)
The density, taxonomic composition, and spatial and temporal distribution of the estuarine ichthyoplankton of Bahía Málaga (Pacific coast of Colombia) are described, as well as the relationship between biological parameters and some physicochemical variables. Samples were collected at 12 stations along the principal navigation canal; these samples were taken in four areas following the design of Barletta-Bergan. Surface sweeps were carried out with a conical-cylindrical net (mesh size 500 µm, mouth diameter 0.6 m, length 3.5 m). Salinity and temperature were measured before each sweep. A total of 69019 larvae/1000 m³, representing 23 families, 36 genera and 40 species were collected during monthly sampling from September, 2009 to February, 2010. Carangidae (39.0%) was the most abundant family, followed by Sciaenidae (27.1%) and Engraulidae (20.1%). The most frequent families were Sciaenidae (26.6%), followed by Carangidae (22.8%) and Engraulidae (14.7%) which are important families in larval fish assemblages in tropical estuaries. Eighty percent of total density was provided by six species, of which Seriola morphotype 1 (Carangidae) and Cetengraulis mysticetus (Engraulidae) were the most abundant and dominant. No correlation was found between density and salinity (Spearman, R = 0.23) or temperature (Spearman, R = 0.51). Analysis of spatial and temporal variations of larval density shows significant differences among the months sampled (Anova, p = 0.0029; p < 0.05), but not among areas (Anova, p = 0.078), suggesting that Bahía Málaga offers adequate conditions for the presence of fish larvae.
Ichthyoplankton; estuary; taxonomy; Bahía Málaga; Colombian Pacific coast
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