Spatio-temporal organization patterns in the fish assemblages of a Neotropical floodplain
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Communities can be structured over time by deterministic, stochastic, or both mechanisms. This study evaluated whether the fish assemblages of the Upper Paraná River floodplain were spatio-temporally structured and examined the mechanisms driving these organizational patterns. The floodplain ichthyofauna was sampled quarterly with seines and gillnets. The structure of the assemblage was assessed using the C-Score co-occurrence index and null models. The influence of both the environment (physical and chemical variables and hydrometric levels) and time on the species’ organization patterns was assessed via principal component analysis, multiple and simple regressions, and analyses of variance. Assemblages with larger species showed patterns of species segregation at both spatial and temporal scales, while those composed of smaller species often exhibited random patterns. The physical and chemical variables did not predict co-occurrence among species. For assemblages of large species, the patterns of co-occurrence tended to be random when the river level increased but only during high-water months. Therefore, the life history traits of the species, such as body size, may predict the structure of the assemblages in floodplains, but this effect depends on variations in the hydrometric level.
KeywordsCommunity Structure Co-occurrence Null models Body size Flood pulse Upper Paraná River floodplain
We acknowledge the Nupélia for conducting the PELD program and providing the best possible environment for this study. We also thank Luiz C. Gomes, Almir M. Cunico, Sybelle Bellay, and Ángela L. Gutiérrez Cortés for comments on an early version of the manuscript, Jaime L. L. Pereira for drawing Fig. 1 and Maria C. Roberto for sampling, analyzing, and sharing the physical and chemical data. We are grateful to the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq; PELD site-6) for providing funding; in addition, J. C. G. Ortega thanks the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for a scholarship and the Programa de Excelência Acadêmica (Proex/CAPES) for additional funding, and E. F. Oliveira is also grateful to DIRPPG/UTFPR-Londrina for funding. A. A. Agostinho is continuously supported by CNPq.
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