Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 12: 167–177, 2002.
© 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Exploration of spatial and temporal patterns of ﬁsh diversity and
composition in a tropical estuarine system of Mexico
Manuel Castillo-Rivera, Jos
e Alejandro Zavala-Hurtado & Roc
Departamento de Biolog´ıa, Universidad Aut´onoma Metropolitana, Iztapalapa Apartado Postal 55-535, C.P. 09340,
M´exico D.F. (Phone: (525) 804 64 88; Fax: (525) 804 46 88; E-mail: email@example.com)
Accepted 7 June 2002
Abstract page 167
Study area 168
Materials and methods 168
Key words: Canonical Correspondence Analysis, Discriminant Analysis, ﬁsh communities, ﬁsh diversity,
submerged vegetation, tropical system
There are many studies of ﬁsh assemblages in temperate systems, but little information exists about tropical
estuarine systems, particularly in the Western Atlantic Region including Mexico. We investigated the ﬁsh
community structure in the Pueblo Viejo lagoon, Veracruz. Biological samples were collected monthly for one
year at six sites: three with dense stands of Ruppia maritima and three sites without submerged vegetation.
For each sample, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and depth were analyzed. The unbiased
Simpson diversity index, Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) and Discriminant Analysis (DA) were used
to analyze the ﬁsh community. Environmental abiotic variables tended to show signiﬁcant temporal, but not spatial
differences. Fish diversity showed only a weak signiﬁcant correlation with water temperature, and relatively strong
diversity peaks, from June to August and April, were related to production peaks in the system. The two ﬁrst axes
of CCA accounted for 65% of the species-environment biplot variance, which suggested that monthly changes of
salinity, turbidity and precipitation, and presence or absence of submerged vegetation, were the most important
environmental variables in determining the observed variability in ﬁsh community composition. Further, ﬁsh
diversity was signiﬁcantly different between habitats with and those without the presence of submerged vegetation
(P < 0.02). A DA showed signiﬁcant differences (P < 0.03) in ﬁsh community composition between both kinds
of habitats, with Lagodon rhomboides, Mugil curema and Menidia beryllina (substantially more abundant in
habitat with submerged vegetation) as the most important species in the discrimination of spatial ﬁsh composition.
Considering both habitats combined, fewer differences were observed in ﬁsh diversity and community composition
between rainy and dry seasons. Fish community composition showed greater similarity between seasons than
between habitats, despite the fact that environmental abiotic variables showed an inverse pattern, suggesting that
site factors, such as the presence of submerged vegetation, play a more important role in the maintenance of ﬁsh
community patterns than those related to temporal inﬂuence.