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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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Principal Coordinated Ordination (PCO) of correlations between covariate factors and two dimensional plots of community composition by zone.a) Overlaid with physico-chemical and sediment metal vectors. b) Overlaid with vectors of top six species contributing to differences between zones. (Multiple Correlation >0.2).
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pone-0026353-g006: Principal Coordinated Ordination (PCO) of correlations between covariate factors and two dimensional plots of community composition by zone.a) Overlaid with physico-chemical and sediment metal vectors. b) Overlaid with vectors of top six species contributing to differences between zones. (Multiple Correlation >0.2).

Mentions: Salinity, pH, and temperature were all found to have a significant relationship with the fish community composition when analyzed using a DistLM analysis (Table 7a, Figure 6a). As stated earlier, multivariate analysis of community composition found that inner and outer zones differed significantly. PCO plots indicate that the major cluster of outer zone sites was strongly related to both increased pH and salinity. In contrast, the major cluster of inner zone sites corresponded strongly to increased temperature. Sediment metals and estuary size did not correlate with the separation of zones (Figure 6a).


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

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

Principal Coordinated Ordination (PCO) of correlations between covariate factors and two dimensional plots of community composition by zone.a) Overlaid with physico-chemical and sediment metal vectors. b) Overlaid with vectors of top six species contributing to differences between zones. (Multiple Correlation >0.2).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0026353-g006: Principal Coordinated Ordination (PCO) of correlations between covariate factors and two dimensional plots of community composition by zone.a) Overlaid with physico-chemical and sediment metal vectors. b) Overlaid with vectors of top six species contributing to differences between zones. (Multiple Correlation >0.2).
Mentions: Salinity, pH, and temperature were all found to have a significant relationship with the fish community composition when analyzed using a DistLM analysis (Table 7a, Figure 6a). As stated earlier, multivariate analysis of community composition found that inner and outer zones differed significantly. PCO plots indicate that the major cluster of outer zone sites was strongly related to both increased pH and salinity. In contrast, the major cluster of inner zone sites corresponded strongly to increased temperature. Sediment metals and estuary size did not correlate with the separation of zones (Figure 6a).

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