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Ciencias marinas

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3880


ESPINO, F; TUYA, F; BRITO, A  y  HAROUN, RJ. Ichthyofauna associated with Cymodocea nodosa meadows in the Canarian Archipelago (central eastern Atlantic): Community structure and nursery role. Cienc. mar [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.2, pp. 157-174. ISSN 0185-3880.

We carried out 84 trawls in 41 seagrass meadows composed of the phanerogam Cymodocea nodosa at three islands of the Canarian Archipelago, during June to September 2003, in order to describe the associated ichthyofauna (composition, richness, and abundance), to analyze the role that this habitat can play in fish recruitment, and to determine the potential relationship between the spatial structure of the seagrass meadow and the patterns of richness and abundance of the fish assemblage. A total of 8298 individuals were captured. The five most relevant species, in terms of abundance and frequency, were Spondyliosoma cantharus, Diplodus annularis, Syngnathus typhle, Mullus surmuletus, and Pagellus erythrinus. Gran Canaria had the largest species richness (36 species) and mean number of species per sample (8.69 ± 0.49; mean ± SE). Lanzarote had the largest number of individuals (64.83% of the total registered) and mean total abundance per sample (168.39 ± 30.91). High densities of individuals were registered (95.86 ± 13.5) and 92.91% of fishes were juveniles. Our data showed that the physical configuration of the seagrass meadows did not significantly affect the patterns of richness and abundance of the associated fish assemblage. In conclusion, the C. nodosa meadows exhibited a singular ichthyofauna and they contribute to the maintenance of the diversity of the coastal fish assemblages in the Canarian Archipelago. This habitat constitutes, during spring and summer, a nursery habitat for juvenile fishes of many species, several of them commercially targeted.

Palabras llave : community structure; nursery habitat; Cymodocea nodosa; seagrass meadows; Canarian Archipelago.

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