Scientia Marina, Vol 79, No 1 (2015)

Recruitment of juvenile fishes into a small temperate choked lagoon (Argentina) and the influence of environmental factors during the process

Daniel O. Bruno
Laboratorio de Ecología, Fisiología y Evolución de Organismos Acuáticos. Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC-CONICET), Argentina

María B. Cousseau
Laboratorio de Biotaxonomía Morfológica y Molecular de Peces (BIMOPE). Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata - Laboratorio de Ictiología. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina

Juan M. Díaz de Astarloa
Laboratorio de Biotaxonomía Morfológica y Molecular de Peces (BIMOPE). Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata - Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC-CONICET), Argentina

Eduardo M. Acha
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC-CONICET) - Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP), Argentina


Juvenile fishes were sampled every 15 days from September 2009 to April 2010 along the marine-estuarine gradient (surf zone, estuary and a freshwater stream) of the Mar Chiquita lagoon, Argentina. The temporal variations of juvenile assemblages in spring-summer and the environmental variables related to the spatial and temporal patterns were analysed. Four groups of sampling stations were defined, indicating differences in fish composition among zones during the spring–early summer period (Groups I to III), while the composition of juvenile fishes was homogeneous along the marine-estuarine gradient during the late summer–early autumn period (Group IV). Platanichthys platana and Ramnogaster arcuata (Group A) and Odontesthes argentinensis and Brevoortia aureaz (Group B) contributed most to the temporal differences observed. The three first species reached this estuarine system in spring, although with lower abundances than in early summer, while B. aurea was dominant in late summer–early autumn, showing different periods of recruitment of these species into the lagoon. After factoring out variation due to shared spatial-temporal-environmental factors (4.43%), canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) showed that temporal factors had an almost five times greater contribution (15.15%) than spatial factors (2.85%) and almost twice as great as the pure environmental factors (8.11%) to explaining the variation in abundance of the juvenile fishes. From the significant environmental variables incorporated in the CCA, wind direction contributed more than water temperature, salinity or transparency in explaining data variability. Indeed, most species were related to “onshore winds” and therefore the importance of wind in the successful recruitment of juveniles into this shallow and micro-tidal estuary is discussed.


nursery grounds; fish; juvenile; brackish water environment; surf zone; environmental factors; winds; Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon

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