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High site fidelity and low site connectivity in temperate salt marsh fish populations: a stable isotope approach.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21786154     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Adult and juvenile fish utilise salt marshes for food and shelter at high tide, moving into adjacent sublittoral regions during low tide. Understanding whether there are high levels of site fidelity for different species of coastal fish has important implications for habitat conservation and the design of marine protected areas. We hypothesised that common salt marsh fish species would demonstrate a high site fidelity, resulting in minimal inter-marsh connectivity. Carbon ((13)C) and nitrogen ((15)N) stable isotope ratios of larvae and juveniles of five common salt marsh fish (Atherina presbyter, Chelon labrosus, Clupea harengus, Dicentrarchus labrax, Pomatoschistus microps), seven types of primary producer and seven secondary consumer food sources were sampled in five salt marshes within two estuary complexes along the coast of south-east England. Significant differences in (13)C and (15)N signatures between salt marshes indicated distinct sub-populations utilising the area of estuary around each salt marsh, and limited connectivity, even within the same estuary complex. (15)N ratios were responsible for the majority of inter-marsh differences for each species and showed similar site-specific patterns in ratios in primary producers, secondary consumers and fish. Fish diets (derived from isotope mixing models) varied between species but were mostly consistent between marsh sites, indicating that dietary shifts were not the source of variability of the inter-marsh isotopic signatures within species. These results demonstrate that for some common coastal fish species, high levels of site fidelity result in individual salt marshes operating as discrete habitats for fish assemblages.
Benjamin C Green; David J Smith; Jonathan Grey; Graham J C Underwood
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2011-7-24
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1939     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2011 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-7-25     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ, United Kingdom,
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