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Free Content Studies on the Animal Communities in Two North Florida Salt Marshes

Part III. Seasonal Fluctuations of Fish and Macroinvertebrates

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A study of the fish and macroinvertebrate communities in two pristine north Florida salt marshes was made to determine the causes for temporal changes in species abundance, and to understand relations between the two communities and distribution patterns of species in coastal habitats. The communities were well defined with dominant, scarce and rare species, dominants accounting for 90% of total abundance. Less than 20% of seasonal changes in species numbers and biomass was related to variations in temperature, salinity and oxygen, and the influence of each factor on different species was variable. The density and trophic types of invertebrates were not related to sediment particle size. Species were found to be adapted to the highly reducing soil conditions. Breeding patterns, recruitment, seasonal succession of dominants had more profound influence than physical factors on the seasonal changes in community composition. Biological indices revealed shifts in species dominance hierarchy between the estuary, marsh creeks and isolated ponds. While some species were well distributed, others were restricted to one or the other areas, forming distinct species assemblages. Nektonic invertebrates and fish species showed wide distributions, indicating tide related movements. Cluster analyses revealed distinct groups of species of fish and invertebrates. The seasonal trends of species diversity were influenced both by species richness and evenness of fish and invertebrates. The diversity and evenness indices for fish were negatively correlated to diversity, species richness and evenness of invertebrates. While population changes appear to be responsible for compositional changes in both communities, predation by fish may be an additional factor that governed changes in the macroinvertebrate community.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1980

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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