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High levels of sediment contamination have little influence on estuarine beach fish communities.

McKinley AC, Dafforn KA, Taylor MD, Johnston EL - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination.Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage.These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

ABSTRACT
While contaminants are predicted to have measurable impacts on fish assemblages, studies have rarely assessed this potential in the context of natural variability in physico-chemical conditions within and between estuaries. We investigated links between the distribution of sediment contamination (metals and PAHs), physico-chemical variables (pH, salinity, temperature, turbidity) and beach fish assemblages in estuarine environments. Fish communities were sampled using a beach seine within the inner and outer zones of six estuaries that were either heavily modified or relatively unmodified by urbanization and industrial activity. All sampling was replicated over two years with two periods sampled each year. Shannon diversity, biomass and abundance were all significantly higher in the inner zone of estuaries while fish were larger on average in the outer zone. Strong differences in community composition were also detected between the inner and outer zones. Few differences were detected between fish assemblages in heavily modified versus relatively unmodified estuaries despite high concentrations of sediment contaminants in the inner zones of modified estuaries that exceeded recognized sediment quality guidelines. Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination. Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage. These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

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Mean (±SE) abundance by zone/estuary for 100 m2 beach seine samples.Plots of top six species contributing to differences between inner and outer zones.
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pone-0026353-g005: Mean (±SE) abundance by zone/estuary for 100 m2 beach seine samples.Plots of top six species contributing to differences between inner and outer zones.

Mentions: Fish abundance was significantly higher in the inner zones and in the first year of sampling (Table 4, Figure 3 e,f). While fish abundance was significantly greater in the inner zone overall, occasionally the difference between zones was small, and Botany Bay appeared to have a greater abundance in the outer zone during year 2 (Figure 3 e,f). Multivariate analysis of the community composition found that inner and outer zone fish communities differed significantly (Table 5, Figure 4). There was also significant variation in community composition between sites (Table 5). Simper analysis revealed that the top six species contributing to differences between zones were M. elongatus, Sillago sp. (<10 cm), A. jacksoniensis, S. ciliata, G. subfasciatus, and F. lentiginosus. All of these species were more abundant in the inner zone and collectively they contributed to approximately 59% of the difference between zones. However, several of these species also varied significantly by other factors. Differences in abundance between zones were significant for the Sillago sp., S. ciliata, G. subfasciatus, F. lentiginosus, and nearly significant for A. jacksoniensis (Table 6 a–f, Figure 5). F. lentiginosus, S. ciliata, and Sillago sp. also varied significantly by site. A. jacksoniensis showed a significant zone×estuary interaction, which was driven by higher abundances in the inner zone for all estuaries except Botany Bay, where it was more abundant in the outer zone. Of these species, only G. subfasciatus differed by disturbance category with significantly more individuals in the inner zone of the heavily modified estuaries (Table 6c). This resulted in a near-significant zone×disturbance category interaction.


High levels of sediment contamination have little influence on estuarine beach fish communities.

McKinley AC, Dafforn KA, Taylor MD, Johnston EL - PLoS ONE (2011)

Mean (±SE) abundance by zone/estuary for 100 m2 beach seine samples.Plots of top six species contributing to differences between inner and outer zones.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198393&req=5

pone-0026353-g005: Mean (±SE) abundance by zone/estuary for 100 m2 beach seine samples.Plots of top six species contributing to differences between inner and outer zones.
Mentions: Fish abundance was significantly higher in the inner zones and in the first year of sampling (Table 4, Figure 3 e,f). While fish abundance was significantly greater in the inner zone overall, occasionally the difference between zones was small, and Botany Bay appeared to have a greater abundance in the outer zone during year 2 (Figure 3 e,f). Multivariate analysis of the community composition found that inner and outer zone fish communities differed significantly (Table 5, Figure 4). There was also significant variation in community composition between sites (Table 5). Simper analysis revealed that the top six species contributing to differences between zones were M. elongatus, Sillago sp. (<10 cm), A. jacksoniensis, S. ciliata, G. subfasciatus, and F. lentiginosus. All of these species were more abundant in the inner zone and collectively they contributed to approximately 59% of the difference between zones. However, several of these species also varied significantly by other factors. Differences in abundance between zones were significant for the Sillago sp., S. ciliata, G. subfasciatus, F. lentiginosus, and nearly significant for A. jacksoniensis (Table 6 a–f, Figure 5). F. lentiginosus, S. ciliata, and Sillago sp. also varied significantly by site. A. jacksoniensis showed a significant zone×estuary interaction, which was driven by higher abundances in the inner zone for all estuaries except Botany Bay, where it was more abundant in the outer zone. Of these species, only G. subfasciatus differed by disturbance category with significantly more individuals in the inner zone of the heavily modified estuaries (Table 6c). This resulted in a near-significant zone×disturbance category interaction.

Bottom Line: Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination.Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage.These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

ABSTRACT
While contaminants are predicted to have measurable impacts on fish assemblages, studies have rarely assessed this potential in the context of natural variability in physico-chemical conditions within and between estuaries. We investigated links between the distribution of sediment contamination (metals and PAHs), physico-chemical variables (pH, salinity, temperature, turbidity) and beach fish assemblages in estuarine environments. Fish communities were sampled using a beach seine within the inner and outer zones of six estuaries that were either heavily modified or relatively unmodified by urbanization and industrial activity. All sampling was replicated over two years with two periods sampled each year. Shannon diversity, biomass and abundance were all significantly higher in the inner zone of estuaries while fish were larger on average in the outer zone. Strong differences in community composition were also detected between the inner and outer zones. Few differences were detected between fish assemblages in heavily modified versus relatively unmodified estuaries despite high concentrations of sediment contaminants in the inner zones of modified estuaries that exceeded recognized sediment quality guidelines. Trends in species distributions, community composition, abundance, Shannon diversity, and average fish weight were strongly correlated to physico-chemical variables and showed a weaker relationship to sediment metal contamination. Sediment PAH concentrations were not significantly related to the fish assemblage. These findings suggest that variation in some physico-chemical factors (salinity, temperature, pH) or variables that co-vary with these factors (e.g., wave activity or grain size) have a much greater influence on this fish assemblage than anthropogenic stressors such as contamination.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus