Do mud deposition events on sandy beaches affect surf zone ichthyofauna? A southern Brazilian case study

Giovanini, Renata Mont'Alverne Bretz; Moraes, Leonardo Evangelista; Rodrigues, Fábio Lameiro; Vieira Sobrinho, João Paes


Using fluid mud deposition events which occur regularly at Cassino Beach in south Brazil, we evaluated the influence of such events on the structure of the ichthyofauna inhabiting its shallow surf zone. Wave action was the dominant factor in differentiating between sampling sites, being lower or even absent at the mud-influenced sectors compared to beach area without mud. Samples were collected using a beach seine net at two control locations (A1 and A2), and at three locations influenced by mud deposition (B1, B2, and B3). During the study period (21 Aprile04 August 2009), 15,245 fishes were captured and separated into 26 taxonomic groups, from species to family. Individuals of a total length (TL) up to 50 mm accounted for 65% of the catch, while individuals of TL < 30 mm were the most numerous and more responsible for the total abundance spatial pattern. The area with higher wave action (A2) had the lowest relative species abundance and greatest diversity, whereas the areas with mud-forced lowest wave action (B2 and B3) had the highest species abundance values. Three hypotheses were proposed to explain the higher concentration and capture of juvenile fishes at mud locations. First, longshore currents may be responsible for the displacement of juvenile aggregations toward areas of lower energy. Second, individuals may select habitats with turbid waters, which may provide greater protection from predators and increased food availability. Third, areas under the influence of fluid mud deposition show higher values of viscosity, which may reduce swimming activity and hinder the escape of juvenile fishes from nets, resulting in an increased capture of individuals compared to areas without mud.

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