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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 461:121-135 (2012)  -  DOI:

Factoring scales of spatial and temporal variation in fish abundance in a subtropical estuary

A. M. Garcia1,*,**, J. P. Vieira1, K. O. Winemiller2, L. E. Moraes1, E. T. Paes3,**

1Instituto de Oceanografia, Laboratório de Ictiologia, Universidade Federal de Rio Grande (FURG), Caixa Postal 474, Rio Grande, RS 96201-900, Brazil
2Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2258, USA
3Instituto de Sócio Ambiental e dos Recursos Hídricos, Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia (UFRA), Caixa Postal 917, Belém, PA 66077-530, Brazil
**These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: We employed a new approach linking multivariate and time series analyses to identify common versus unique spatiotemporal components of abundance variation of marine spawning fishes recruiting into a subtropical Western Atlantic estuary. Based on a 10 yr standardized monthly data set, we also investigated patterns of association for local and regional factors with annual and inter-annual variation in abundance of 5 dominant marine estuarine-dependent fishes. The total amount of variation in fish abundance explained by environmental variables was 22.4%. After factoring out shared spatiotemporal variation (0.8%), our analysis showed that temporal components had an almost 5-fold greater contribution (28.0%) than spatial components (6.4%) in explaining the variation in abundance of the 5 species. Most of the variation across the temporal scale (58.5%) was associated with annual (from 0.5 to 1.3 yr) rather than multi-year oscillations (>2 yr). Such annual patterns were probably associated with adaptations of marine estuarine-dependent fishes for exploiting predictable pulses in seasonal productivity typically found in subtropical estuaries. In contrast, inter-annual variation in abundance occurring at a scale of 3 to 7 yr could be attributed to rainfall anomalies associated with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, whereas those occurring at a scale of 2 yr could be influenced by the Southern Annular Mode (SAM). Our findings corroborate the hypothesis that prevalent annual patterns of variation in the abundance of marine estuarine-dependent fishes are associated with predictable productivity pulses linked to the annual temperature regime, whereas inter-annual variations in fish abundance are associated with the influence of large-scale climatic phenomena.

KEY WORDS: Time-series analyses · Partitioning variation · Estuarine-dependent species · Mullet · Whitemouth croaker · Argentine menhaden · Patos Lagoon estuary · Brazilian-LTER

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Cite this article as: Garcia AM, Vieira JP, Winemiller KO, Moraes LE, Paes ET (2012) Factoring scales of spatial and temporal variation in fish abundance in a subtropical estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 461:121-135.

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