Fish assemblage organization in the Amazon River floodplain : species richness, spatial distribution and recruitment processes Public Deposited

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  • The composition and distribution of fish assemblages was examined in a floodplain lake system in the Amazon basin. Quantitative samples were collected during the 1992-1993 flooding season at Marchantaria Island, Solimoes River. A total of 25,819 specimens representing 8 orders, 30 families, 101 genera and 139 species of fish were collected. Analysis of species richness distribution among 7 vegetation strata showed that vegetated sites had higher species richness than unvegetated sites. Stands of Paspalum repens had the most diverse fish fauna. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to investigate relationship between fish assemblages and 16 environmental variables. CCA revealed that dissolved oxygen, water transparency, water depth and aquatic vegetation structure were significantly related to fish assemblage organization. The results suggest that physiological adaptations to hypoxia and habitat complexity play a major role in the organization of these assemblages. The morphology, ontogenetic development, shape variability and deposition of otolith microincrements are described for floodplain serrasalmin fishes. Serrasalmin otoliths were similar to other ostariophysan, nevertheless their shape was species-specific. Elliptical Fourier analysis showed that Mylossoma aureum lapilli were highly variable in shape when compared to closely related species. PCA and discriminant function analysis indicated that two distinct forms of lapillus can be recognized for M. aureum, and intra-species variation was higher than inter-species variation. Otolith microincrement analysis was tested for these fishes, and microincrement deposition validation showed that Piaractus brachipomus deposits otolith increments on a daily basis. Patterns of spatial distribution, growth and mortality characteristics of larvae and juvenile were examined for M. aureum inhabiting the Marchantaria Island floodplain. Otolith-derived birth date reconstruction showed that M. aureum spawning season extended from late November to March, and peak larvae recruitment to the island occurred in mid-December. Larvae and juveniles had different spatial distributions in relation to habitat usage. Instantaneous growth coefficients (g) varied from 0.0197(d⁻¹) to 0.265(d⁻¹) among cohorts. Early-season cohorts had wider otolith microincrements and higher instantaneous growth coefficients than late-season cohorts. Mortality estimated by the decline of loge (abundance) regressed on age indicated that cohort-specific instantaneous mortality varied significantly among cohorts, ranging from 0.027(d⁻¹) (2.6%/d) to 0.103(d⁻¹) (9.7%/d).
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