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Distributional patterns and community structure of Caribbean coral reef fishes within a river-impacted bay

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This study examined how riverine inputs, in particular sediment, influenced the community structure and trophic composition of reef fishes within Rio Bueno, north Jamaica. Due to river discharge a distinct gradient of riverine inputs existed across the study sites. Results suggested that riverine inputs (or a factor associated with them) had a structuring effect on fish community structure. Whilst fish communities at all sites were dominated by small individuals (<20 cm), diversity and total biomass were reduced with increased proximity to the river mouth. The abundance of all fishes, but particularly small-bodied, juvenile and herbivorous fishes was reduced in turbid water when compared to clear-water sites. Results strongly suggest that fluvial sediment inputs may play an important role in structuring fish assemblages even under intense fishing pressure.
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Keywords: Jamaica; disturbance; environmental gradient; reef fishes; river; turbidity

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department Biological Sciences, Manchester Metropolitan University, M15GD, U.K. 2: Max Plank Institute for Limnology, Department of Physiological Ecology, Postfach 165, 24302 Plön, Germany

Publication date: 2007-02-01

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