Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 145, Issue 5, pp 1033–1042 | Cite as

Statistical modeling of seasonal and environmental influences on the population dynamics of an estuarine fish community

  • J. MaesEmail author
  • S. Van Damme
  • P. Meire
  • F. Ollevier
Research Article

Abstract

A statistical modeling study was performed on the population fluctuations of the 15 commonest fish species frequenting the tidal Scheldt estuary in Belgium. These included marine juvenile and seasonal visitors, estuarine residents and diadromous fish species that were recorded on the filter screens of a power plant cooling-water intake between September 1991 and April 2001. The species population abundance was regressed against a candidate set of 6 environmental variables and 13 instrumental variables, accounting for seasonality and long-term trends present in the data. Population abundances of the different species were, in general, best described by seasonal variables. Seasonal components contributed, on average, up to 63.8% of the variance explained by the models. Ten species were found to show a slightly negative, though significant, trend over the period of the survey. Most models also included at least one environmental variable, and 25.4% of the explained variance could be attributed to environmental fluctuations. Of all physico-chemical variables, dissolved oxygen was the most important predictor of fish abundance, suggesting that the estuary suffered from poor water quality during the survey. Temperature, salinity, freshwater flow, suspended solids and chlorophyll a concentrations were minor determinants of fish abundance.

Keywords

North Atlantic Oscillation Index Fish Abundance Freshwater Flow Spearman Rank Correlation Test Scheldt Estuary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

J. Maes is a postdoctoral fellow at the Fund for Scientific Research—Flanders (Belgium). Electrabel Doel gave permission to sample the cooling water and funded parts of this research. Sampling of water quality was in part funded by the OMES project.

References

  1. Appeltans W, Hannouti A, Van Damme S, Soetaert K, Vanthomme R, Tackx M (2003) Zooplankton in the Schelde estuary (Belgium/The Netherlands). The distribution of Eurytemora affinis: effect of oxygen? J Plankton Res 25:1441–1445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Attrill MJ (2002) A testable linear model for diversity trends in estuaries. J Anim Ecol 71:262–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Attrill MJ, Power M (2002) Climatic influence on a marine fish assemblage. Nature 417:275–278CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Attrill MJ, Power M, Thomas RM (1999) Modelling estuarine Crustacea population fluctuations in response to physico-chemical trends. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 178:89–99Google Scholar
  5. Blaber SJM, Blaber TG (1980) Factors affecting the distribution of juvenile estuarine and inshore fish. J Fish Biol 17:143–162Google Scholar
  6. Cabral HN, Costa MJ, Salgado JP (2001) Does the Tagus estuary fish community reflect environmental changes? Clim Change 18:119–126Google Scholar
  7. Coma R, Ribes M, Gili JM, Zabala M (2000) Seasonality in coastal benthic ecosystems. Trends Ecol Evol 15:448–453CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Cyrus DP, Blaber SJM (1992) Turbidity and salinity in a tropical northern Australian estuary and their influence on fish distribution. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 35:454–563Google Scholar
  9. Day JW, Hall CAS, Kemp WM, Yáñez-Arancibia A (1989) Estuarine ecology. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Elliott M, Dewailly F (1995) The structure and components of European estuarine fish assemblages. Neth J Aquat Ecol 29:397–417Google Scholar
  11. Elliott M, Hemingway KL (2002) Fishes in estuaries. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Greenwood MFD, Hill AS, McLusky DS (2002) Trends in abundance of benthic and demersal fish populations of the lower Forth estuary, East Scotland, from 1982–2001. J Fish Biol 61[Suppl A]:90–104Google Scholar
  13. Hamerlynck O (1990) The identification of Pomatoschistus minutus and Pomatoschistus lozanoi (Pisces, Gobiidae). J Fish Biol 37:723–728Google Scholar
  14. Hamerlynck O, Hostens K, Arellano RV, Mees J, Van Damme PA (1993) The mobile epibenthic fauna of soft bottoms in the Dutch Delta (south-west Netherlands): spatial structure. Neth J Aquat Ecol 27:343–358Google Scholar
  15. Heip C (1988) Biota and abiotic environment in the Westerschelde estuary. Hydrobiol Bull 22:31–34Google Scholar
  16. Henderson PA (1989) On the structure of the inshore fish community of England and Wales. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 69:145–163Google Scholar
  17. Hurrell JW, Kushnir Y, Visbeck M, Ottersen G (2003) An overview of the North Atlantic Oscillation. In: Hurrell JW, Kushnir Y, Ottersen G, Visbeck M (eds) The North Atlantic Oscillation: climate significance and environmental impact. Geophys Monogr 134:1–35Google Scholar
  18. Maes J, Van Damme PA, Taillieu A, Ollevier F (1998) Fish communities along an oxygen-poor salinity gradient (Zeeschelde Estuary, Belgium). J Fish Biol 52:534–546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Maes J, Pas J, Taillieu A, Van Damme PA, Ollevier F (2001) Sampling fish and crustaceans at an estuarine power plant cooling-water intake: a comparison with stow net fishery. Arch Fish Mar Res 4:27–36Google Scholar
  20. Maes J, Limburg KE, Van De Putte A, Ollevier F (2004) A spatially explicit, individual based model to assess the role of estuarine nurseries in the early life history of North Sea herring, Clupea harengus. Fish Oceanogr (in press)Google Scholar
  21. Marshall S, Elliott M (1998) Environmental influences on the fish assemblage of the Humber Estuary, U.K. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 46:175–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Möller H, Scholz U (1991) Avoidance of oxygen-poor zones by fish in the Elbe River. J Appl Ichthyol 7:176–182Google Scholar
  23. Muylaert K, Raine R (1999) Import, mortality and accumulation of coastal phytoplankton in a partially mixed estuary (Kinshale harbour, Ireland). Hydrobiologia 412:53–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Potter IC, Claridge PN, Warwick RM (1986) Consistency of seasonal changes in an estuarine fish assemblage. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 32:217–228Google Scholar
  25. Potter IC, Claridge PN, Hyndes GA, Clarke KR (1997) Seasonal, annual and regional variations in ichthyofaunal composition in the inner Severn Estuary and inner Bristol Channel. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 77:507–525Google Scholar
  26. Potter IC, Bird DJ, Claridge PN, Clarke KR, Hyndes GA, Newton LC (2001) Fish fauna of the Severn Estuary. Are there long-term changes in abundance and species composition and are the recruitment patterns of the main marine species correlated? J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 258:15–37CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Power M, Attrill MJ (2002) Factors affecting long-term trends in the estuarine abundance of pogge (Agonus cataphractus). Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 54:941–949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Power M, Attrill MJ (2003) Long-term trends in the estuarine abundance of Nilsson’s pipefish (Syngnathus rostellatus Nilsson). Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 57:325–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Power M, Attrill MJ, Thomas RM (2000a) Environmental factors and interactions affecting the temporal abundance of juvenile flatfish in the Thames Estuary. J Sea Res 43:135–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Power M, Attrill MJ, Thomas RM (2000b) Temporal abundance patterns and growth of juvenile herring and sprat from the Thames estuary 1977–1992. J Fish Biol 56:1408–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Power M, Attrill MJ, Thomas RM (2002) Environmental influences on the long-term fluctuations in the abundance of gadoid species during estuarine residence. J Sea Res 47:185–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Poxton MG, Allouse SB (1982) Water quality criteria for marine fisheries. Aquacult Eng 1:223–228Google Scholar
  33. Soetaert K, Herman PMJ (1994) One foot in the grave: zooplankton drift into the Westerschelde estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 105:19–29Google Scholar
  34. Soetaert K, Herman PMJ (1995) Estimating residence times in the Westerschelde (The Netherlands) using a box model with fixed dispersion coefficients. In: Heip CHR, Herman PMJ (eds) Major biological processes in European tidal estuaries. Kluwer, London, pp 215–224Google Scholar
  35. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (2001) Biometry. Freeman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Thiel R, Potter IC (2001) The ichthyofaunal composition of the Elbe estuary: an analysis in space and time. Mar Biol 138:603–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Thiel R, Sepúlveda A, Kafemann R, Nellen W (1995) Environmental factors as forces structuring the fish community of the Elbe estuary. J Fish Biol 46:47–69Google Scholar
  38. Ysebaert T, Meire P, Herman PMJ, Verbeek H (2002) Macrobenthic species response surfaces along estuarine gradients: prediction by logistic regression. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 225:79–95Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Aquatic EcologyKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Ecosystem Management Research GroupUniversitaire Instelling AntwerpenWilrijkBelgium

Personalised recommendations