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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 617-618:67-79 (2019)  -  DOI:

Natural and anthropogenic effects on the early life stages of European anchovy in one of its essential fish habitats, the Guadalquivir estuary

Gustavo F. de Carvalho-Souza1,2, Enrique González-Ortegón1,6,7, Francisco Baldó1, César Vilas3, Pilar Drake4, Marcos Llope1,5,*

1Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Cádiz, Puerto Pesquero, Muelle de Levante s/n, 11006 Cadiz (Andalusia), Spain
2CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, 70040-020, Brasília, Brazil
3Instituto de Investigación y Formación Agraria Pesquera (IFAPA), Centro El Toruño, Camino Tiro de Pichón s/n, 11500 El Puerto de Santa María (Andalusia), Spain
4Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (CSIC), Avda. República Saharaui 2, 11519 Puerto Real (Andalusia), Spain
5Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway
6Present adress: Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía, Polígono Río San Pedro s/n, Apartado Oficial, 11519 Puerto Real, Cádiz (Andalusia), Spain
7Present adress: Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar (CEIMAR), Av. Carlos III 3, 11003 Cádiz (Andalusia), Spain
*Corresponding author:
Advance View was available online July 17, 2018

ABSTRACT: Essential fish habitats (EFHs) are all aquatic habitats and substrates fundamental for spawning, breeding, feeding and/or growing to maturity. Estuaries are a good example of this because they play an important role as nursery grounds for several marine species. Despite their importance for completing the life cycle of some fish stocks, little is known about how early stages of these species respond to changes within estuarine environments. Understanding the response of fish juveniles to combinations of multiple drivers in these highly dynamic ecosystems is not straightforward. By analysing an 18 yr time series of European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus and 3 mysid species in the Guadalquivir estuary (SW Spain), we quantified the effects of both natural and anthropogenic factors on the early stages of this small pelagic fish and its prey. Of the factors assessed, freshwater discharges and turbidity—both influenced by human activities—showed a remarkable effect on the abundance of anchovy. Natural environmental variables such as temperature, salinity, winds and prey abundance were also important. The relationship between anchovy and mysids suggests that the Guadalquivir food web is predominantly resource-driven and that indirect environmental effects can cascade up through a web of interactions. This study provides empirical information on the response of anchovy to environmental changes within its main essential habitat in the Gulf of Cadiz. Since the human-influenced variables can be managed to some extent, we discuss their implications for maintaining a healthy EFH, which in turn would contribute to developing an ecosystem approach to fisheries management in the region.

KEY WORDS: Engraulis encrasicolus · Anchovy juveniles · Nursery area · Trophic control · Environmental effects · Reference points · Mesopodopsis slabberi · Neomysis integer · Rhopalophthalmus tartessicus

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Cite this article as: de Carvalho-Souza GF, González-Ortegón E, Baldó F, Vilas C, Drake P, Llope M (2019) Natural and anthropogenic effects on the early life stages of European anchovy in one of its essential fish habitats, the Guadalquivir estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 617-618:67-79.

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