Estuarine Ecoclines and the Associated Fauna: Ecological Information as the Basis for Ecosystem Conservation

  • Mário BarlettaEmail author
  • André R. A. Lima
  • Monica F. Costa
  • David V. Dantas
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 21)


Ecocline is defined as a “gradation from one ecosystem to another when there is no sharp boundary between the two” containing relatively heterogeneous communities influenced by gradual changes between river-dominated to marine-like waters. It creates heterogeneous habitats, differing in abiotic characteristics, mainly water salinity. Estuarine fish fauna is highly influenced by the major annual water quality shifts resulted from seaward river flow during the rainy season and upstream coastal water inflow during drier seasons. Thus, faunal communities change seasonally in terms of quali-quantitative variables or living strategies. Estuarine ecocline can also set the seasonal retention, bioavailability or sinking of dissolved oxygen, pollutants and microbiological contaminants whose effects are crucial to determine the pattern of use, fish entering, tissue contamination and survival of early stages. Abrupt changes in climatic patterns or in the river flow induce changes in the ecocline and fishes will respond by modifying assemblage structures. The use of robust and consistent scientific information regarding fish fauna and their ecocline can provide reliable ecological information. This generates descriptors of reference conditions taking into account how human impacts affect coastal systems, providing steps to guarantee the sustainable use of estuarine resources.


Environmental gradients Marine pollution Coastal management Anthropogenic impacts Planned sampling design Estuarine resources conservation 



The authors acknowledge financial support from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico through grant (CNPq-Proc.405818/2012-2/COAGR/PESCA); Fundação de Amparo à Ciência e Tecnologia do Estado de Pernambuco through scholarship (FACEPE/BFP-0130-1.08/15); Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de Pernambuco (FACEPE) through grant (FACEPE/APQ–0911–108/12). MB is a CNPq Fellow.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mário Barletta
    • 1
    Email author
  • André R. A. Lima
    • 1
  • Monica F. Costa
    • 1
  • David V. Dantas
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratório de Ecologia e Gerenciamento de Ecossistemas Costeiros e Estuarinos (LEGECE), Departamento de OceanografiaUniversidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE)RecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Grupo de Tecnologia e Ciência Pesqueira (TECPESCA), Departamento de Engenharia de Pesca, Centro de Ensino Superior da Região Sul (CERES)Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina (UDESC)LagunaBrazil

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