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Spatial and seasonal patterns in freshwater ichthyofaunal communities of a tropical high Island in Fiji

Jenkins, Aaron and Jupiter, S.D. (2011) Spatial and seasonal patterns in freshwater ichthyofaunal communities of a tropical high Island in Fiji. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 91 (3). pp. 261-274. ISSN 0378-1909

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We surveyed freshwater ichthyofaunal communities in streams of Vanua Levu, Fiji, under a range of land cover to assess differential, seasonal effects on fish abundance and diversity. We collected fish from 32 families, 19 genera and 87 species, representing approximately 50% of the known Fijian freshwater and estuarine fish fauna. Position in reach was the strongest overall factor influencing fish abundance and diversity, particularly in the larger, steeper catchments. However, fish communities exhibited strong seasonal specificity with over half (55%) of species observed in only one season. There were greater numbers of estuarine and marine migrants and fishes with poor swimming ability in the dry season, with more schooling species, large predators and fish that prefer muddy benthos in the wet. In the more pristine catchments of Kubulau District, higher species abundance and diversity were observed in the wet season and were associated with significantly greater flow, pH and dissolved oxygen. We observed the opposite pattern for fish diversity and abundance from the more degraded catchments of Macuata Province. These results suggest that the wet season is having a net positive effect on habitable space for fishes in Kubulau and a net negative effect in Macuata, as species may be lost due to increased runoff from heavily cleared and cultivated catchments. Integrated water resource management across the full range of habitats utilized by Fiji’s freshwater fishes is recommended in order to maintain species diversity and abundance.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Marine Studies
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2011 05:14
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2012 09:07

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