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Neotropical Ichthyology

Print version ISSN 1679-6225On-line version ISSN 1982-0224

Abstract

FERREIRA, Fabio Cop; SILVA, André Teixeira da; GONCALVES, Cristina da Silva  and  PETRERE JR., Miguel. Disentangling the influences of habitat structure and limnological predictors on stream fish communities of a coastal basin, southeastern Brazil. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2014, vol.12, n.1, pp.177-186. ISSN 1679-6225.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252014000100019.

In stream environments habitat structure and limnological factors interact regulating patterns of energy and material transfer and affecting fish communities. In the coastal basins of Southeastern Brazil, limnological and structural characteristics differ between clear and blackwaters streams. The former have a diversity of substrate types, higher water velocities, and lower water conductivity, while the latter have sandy substrate, tea-colored and acidic waters, and low water velocities. In this study, we verified the relative importance of habitat structure and limnological variables in predicting patterns of variation in stream fish communities. Eight first to third order streams were sampled in the coastal plain of Itanhaém River basin. We captured 34 fish species and verified that community structure was influenced by physical habitat and limnology, being the former more important. A fraction of the variation could not be totally decomposed, and it was assigned to the joint influence of limnology and habitat structure. Some species that were restricted to blackwater streams, may have physiological and behavioral adaptations to deal with the lower pH levels. When we examined only the clearwater streams, all the explained variation in fish community composition was assigned to structural factors, which express specific preferences for different types of habitats.

Keywords : Blackwater streams; Clearwater streams; East basin; Restinga forest; Variance partitioning.

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