Composition, structure and distribution of the ichthyoplankton in a Mediterranean coastal lagoon
The species composition and assemblage structure of the ichthyoplankton from the Mar Menor Lagoon in south‐east Spain are given. The fish larvae were sorted from zooplankton samples collected at 20 stations with a plankton net (50 cm mouth diameter and 500 m mesh) during 36 surveys between February and December 1997. A total of 39 575 fish larvae representing 14 families, 22 genera and 36 species were identified. Gobiidae was the most dominant family (77·0%) followed by Blenniidae (19·4%) and Atherinidae (1·3%). The most abundant species were Gobius niger and Gobius paganellus, which accounted for 42·7 and 19·3% of the total respectively. These species were followed in order of relative abundance by Pomatoschistus marmoratus(13·9%), Parablennius pilicornis(9·4%), Lipophrys pavo(7·7%), Atherina boyeri(1·3%) and Parablennius tentacularis(1·3%). The high species diversity (2·0–2·8 bits individual−1 for the annual diversity spectra at each sampling station) reflected a diverse assemblage of species. The main commercial species in the lagoon (Sparidae and Mugilidae) were poorly represented among the ichthyoplankton and they probably enter the lagoon on the bottom as recruits. Chlorophyll a concentration in the water column was the main factor explaining the seasonal variation in larval abundance. Spatial distribution of larvae was related to hydrographical circulation patterns in the lagoon and the movement of marine‐spawned larvae through the channels connecting the lagoon with the Mediterranean Sea.
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