, Volume 726, Issue 1, pp 245–258 | Cite as

Marine intrusion and freshwater discharge as opposite forces driving fish guilds distribution along coastal plain streams

  • Rodrigo Ferreira Bastos
  • Lauro Júlio Calliari
  • Alexandre Miranda Garcia
Primary Research Paper


This work investigated variations in fish guilds along marine surf zone to freshwater reaches of coastal plain streams and their relationships with environmental factors. Fish and abiotic data were collected monthly during 1 year and an automatic image-recording system was used to monitor marine intrusion events. Aside ephemeral salinity gradients produced by storm surges, freshwater conditions prevailed inside streams. Despite of that, fish habitat use guilds were spatially distributed according to their salinity tolerance, with marine species occurring mainly in the stream site near the adjacent surf zone and non-salinity tolerant freshwater fish in the upstream site. Marine intrusion was the main factor correlated with the entrance of marine-related fish into streams during summer. In contrast, higher rainfall during colder months prevented the dominance of marine species. This work highlighted that spatial segregation in fish habitat use guild could occur even in the absence of long-lasting salinity gradients, since active colonization by euryhaline fish and sporadic marine intrusions can lead to the occurrence of marine-related fish in coastal plain streams. Future studies should evaluate if this marine intrusion role on fish of coastal plain streams would be affected by changes in sea level and rainfall in a global warming scenario.


Storm surge Marine surf zone Floods Meteorological tide Habitat use Functional guilds Spatial segregation 



We thank Fernando Calmon for helping with image process of ARGUS system; colleagues of the Ichthyology Laboratory at FURG for helping in field collection and sample processing; João Vieira, Daniel Loebmann and Nelson Fontoura for reviewing an early version of this paper; the REUNI (Programa de Reestruturação e Expansão das Universidades Federais) and CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior) for providing student fellowship for RFB and CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for a research grant for AMG.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rodrigo Ferreira Bastos
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lauro Júlio Calliari
    • 1
  • Alexandre Miranda Garcia
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de OceanografiaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG)Rio GrandeBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós Graduação em Biologia de Ambientes Aquáticos Continentais, Instituto de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG)Rio GrandeBrazil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós Graduação em ZoologiaPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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