Fishes and salinities in the St Lucia estuarine system—a review

Fishes and salinities in the St Lucia estuarine system—a review The recorded salinity ranges of freshwater, estuarine and marine fish species in Lake St Lucia, a Ramsar and World Heritage Site, are documented. The freshwater group is most diverse and abundant under oligohaline conditions, although the Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) was common under all salinity regimes. Estuary resident species also favoured oligohaline conditions but, in contrast to the freshwater taxa, were well represented in salinities up to 40 ‰. The marine group was most diverse and abundant within the salinity range 10–40 ‰, but a large number of species could also be found in salinities up to 70 ‰. Very few fish species were able to tolerate salinities between 70 ‰ and 110 ‰, with only O. mossambicus surviving for extended periods in salinities above 110 ‰. All the aquatic macrophytes and most of the zoobenthos within the lake appear to die out within the salinity range of 50–60 ‰, thus creating additional stress to those fish present under such conditions. The food resources least affected by extreme hypersalinity are the microphytobenthos and detritus food chains, with detritivorous fishes being dominant when the lake is in this state. Mass mortalities of fishes in Lake St Lucia have been recorded under both low (<5 ‰) and high salinity (>70 ‰) conditions. The fish kills are often triggered by exceptionally low or high water temperatures which affect the osmoregulatory abilities of these species. Hypersaline conditions and fish mortalities under the most recent closed estuary mouth conditions (2002–2005) are reviewed. If the surface area of St Lucia (35,000 ha) is compared to the total surface area of all South African estuaries (approximately 70,000 ha), then the possibility exists that the loss of the Lake St Lucia nursery area for estuary-associated marine fish species over the past few years may cause significant short-term declines in the future abundance of these taxa on both a local and regional scale. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries Springer Journals

Fishes and salinities in the St Lucia estuarine system—a review

Loading next page...
Springer Netherlands
Copyright © 2006 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Life Sciences; Zoology ; Freshwater & Marine Ecology
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial