Journal Article

Ecological indicators based on fish biomass distribution along trophic levels: an application to the Terminos coastal lagoon, Mexico

Atahualpa Sosa-López, David Mouillot, Thang Do Chi and Julia Ramos-Miranda

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 453-458
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2004.12.004
Ecological indicators based on fish biomass distribution along trophic levels: an application to the Terminos coastal lagoon, Mexico

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Cumulative relative biomass trophic level spectra (BTLS) are constructed for the fish community of a tropical coastal lagoon in Mexico to analyse spatio-temporal patterns as a potential ecosystem indicator of multifactor impacts. Data were based on monthly trawl surveys over a single year carried out eighteen years apart. The spectra show significant differences between the two periods, indicating major shifts in the trophic structure of the system. Specifically, biomass of the omnivorous, estuarine species in the middle of the foodweb (originally dominating) has been replaced by carnivorous and herbivorous–detritivorous species. As a consequence, the initial sigmoid shape of the BTLS has tended to become more linear. However, interpretation of the causes involved remains unclear. It is suggested that this potential indicator of trophic status of the fish community reflects a combination of interacting driving forces acting simultaneously in the lagoon: (i) increased marine conditions as well as artificial reefs constructed in adjacent zones may enhance biomass of marine predators and detritivorous species; (ii) attenuation of estuarine influences may lead to decreasing biomass of estuarine generalist species; and (iii) the establishment of a marine protected area may increase predator biomass, causing a decline in prey biomass.

Keywords: coastal lagoon; cumulative relative biomass trophic level spectra; fish diet; habitat impact; marine protected area; shrimp-trawl survey

Journal Article.  2653 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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