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Fish fauna of a mixed meadow composed by the seagrasses Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera noltii in the Western Mediterranean
Guidetti, P.; Bussotti, S. (2000). Fish fauna of a mixed meadow composed by the seagrasses Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera noltii in the Western Mediterranean. Oceanol. Acta 23(7): 759-770
In: Oceanologica Acta. Elsevier/Gauthier-Villars: Montreuil. ISSN 0399-1784, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Guidetti, P., more
  • Bussotti, S.

    The fish fauna of a shallow meadow composed by the seagrasses Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera noltii was studied in the Gulf of Olbia (NE Sardinia, Italy; Western Mediterranean). Visual censuses were conducted monthly from August 1995 to August 1996. Environmental variables for water temperature, salinity and seagrass shoot density were collected on each sampling occasion. A total of 23 fish species from eight families were recorded. Planktivorous species (Atherinids) numerically dominated the fish community, followed by necto-benthic fish, chiefly Labrids and Sparids. There was no discernible trend in total fish density. Species richness, diversity, evenness and density of necto-benthic species, instead, displayed a distinct seasonal pattern, higher values occurring from late spring to early autumn. All community variables, except total fish density, were positively related to water temperature and shoot density, but not to salinity. Multivariate analysis revealed variation in species composition and relative abundances of the fish community throughout the year. The most common fish species displayed different seasonal patterns of density throughout the year. Differences were also found in the relationships between the relative abundances of each species with the environmental variables (water temperature, salinity) and the seagrass shoot density. The data show that the fish fauna of the meadow of Olbia was characterised by a distinct seasonal variation of the community structure, probably influenced by the fluctuations of both environmental variables and habitat complexity. Since seasonal variations in fish density were due to the contribution of juvenile, sub-adult and adult specimens, the data presented here imply both recruitment and migration phenomena from and towards adjacent habitats in the colonisation of the bed during warmer months. The presence of juvenile fishes of a number of species emphasises the potentially important function of nursery exerted by such seagrass systems during the first phases of the life history of several fish species.

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