The role of vegetated areas on fish assemblage of the Paraná River floodplain: effects of different hydrological conditions
Juan José Neiff, Alicia Poi de Neiff and Marta B. Canón Verón
In this paper, we analyze the changes in composition and abundance of fish assemblages in seven vegetated floodplain wetlands with different connectivity across different hydrologic conditions: after a prolonged connection of the floodplain with the main channel, during receding water, and after a prolonged isolation. We also investigated the size and abundance of large-sized migratory species found in these wetlands and the food resources exploited by the dominant fish. Fishes were captured by diurnal seining (8.0 m x 1.50 m, 5 mm mesh) along macrophyte banks. Despite the high total number of species registered (100), sample species richness varied between 7 and 31, depending on the sampling site and the sampling date. Cluster analysis indicated low similarity between sites during both the isolation and the prolonged connection. Species turnover decreased from high water (β = 40.33) to low water (β = 33.83), with the minimum value of beta diversity index obtained during the isolation of the floodplain wetlands (β = 26.83). Our results indicated that different dominant populations of fish occur in different hydrological conditions, even though high water and isolation phases occur in the same season of different years. The ordination (NMDS) indicated the importance of hydrologic conditions in structuring fish assemblages in the studied floodplain. Small-sized characids, typically associated with macrophytes, dominated the fish assemblages, whereas the younger stages of large sized migratory species were found in low abundance. The maximum standard length of the fish captured was 28 cm and for large migratory fish, standard length varied between 1.6 and 25.0 cm. The dominant fish used several food resources, but littoral macrophytes-associated
organisms had a high frequency of occurrence in the three hydrologic conditions. The high species richness of fish in the small, vegetated lakes was related to the high spatial heterogeneity during different hydrological conditions. Disturbances in the hydrological pulses could reduce the biodiversity by modifying the connectivity of the floodplain with the river channel. Conservation of these vegetated wetlands requires maintenance of actual width range of connectivity that provide diverse Habitat along the time.
Quelle: Neotropical Ichthyology, 7(1):39-48, 2009