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Fishes 2017, 2(4), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes2040019

Preliminary Insight into Winter Native Fish Assemblages in Guadiana Estuary Salt Marshes Coping with Environmental Variability and Non-Indigenous Fish Introduction

1
CCMAR, Centro de Ciências do Mar, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
3
Battelle UK Ltd., 29 Springfield Lyons Approach, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 5LB, UK
4
CIMA, Centro de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Maria Angeles Esteban
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 26 October 2017
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Abstract

This work aims to undertake a preliminary characterization of winter fish assemblages in the salt marsh areas of Guadiana lower estuary (South-East Portugal) and discusses the potential risks of habitat dominance by a non-indigenous species (NIS). To this effect, six field campaigns were carried out in four sampling sites during winter season targeting the collection of fish species. A total of 48 samples were collected. Individuals from seven different taxa (marine and estuarine) were collected, although the assemblage was dominated by two estuarine species—the native Pomatoschistus sp. (goby) and the NIS Fundulus heteroclitus (mummichog). Goby was the most abundant taxa in the majority of salt marsh habitats, except for one specific, marsh pool, where extreme environmental conditions were registered, namely high temperature and salinity. Such conditions may have boosted the intrusion of mummichog in this area. This species is well adapted to a wide range of abiotic factors enabling them to colonize habitats where no predators inhabit. Impacts of mummichog introduction in the Guadiana salt marsh area are still unpredictable since this is the first time they have been recorded in such high density. Nevertheless, in scenarios of increased anthropogenic pressure and, consequently, habitat degradation, there is a potential risk of mummichog spreading to other habitats and therefore competing for space and food resources with native species. View Full-Text
Keywords: Pomatoschistus sp.; Fundulus heteroclitus; temperature; salinity; anthropogenic pressures; habitat degradation Pomatoschistus sp.; Fundulus heteroclitus; temperature; salinity; anthropogenic pressures; habitat degradation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gonçalves, R.; Teodósio, M.A.; Cruz, J.; Ben-Hamadou, R.; Correia, A.D.; Chícharo, L. Preliminary Insight into Winter Native Fish Assemblages in Guadiana Estuary Salt Marshes Coping with Environmental Variability and Non-Indigenous Fish Introduction. Fishes 2017, 2, 19.

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