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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 disturbance category.Data from inner zone sites only. a) Physico-chemical, sediment metals, and sediment PAH covariates. b) Plots of six highest correlating species (Multiple Correlation >0.2). Community composition does not differ significantly by disturbance category but is presented for graphical purposes (p = 0.437).
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pone-0026353-g007: Principal Coordinated Ordination (PCO) of correlations between covariate factors and two dimensional plots of community composition by disturbance category.Data from inner zone sites only. a) Physico-chemical, sediment metals, and sediment PAH covariates. b) Plots of six highest correlating species (Multiple Correlation >0.2). Community composition does not differ significantly by disturbance category but is presented for graphical purposes (p = 0.437).

Mentions: A second covariate analysis was undertaken considering inner zone data only. This allowed the inclusion of sediment PAH data as an additional covariate (which was available only from inner zone sites). As shown in Table 7b, salinity, pH, temperature, and sediment metal quotient values significantly correlated with the fish assemblages when inner zone sites were considered separately from the outer zone data (Figure 7a). Within the inner zone sites the distributions of M. elongatus and A. jacksoniensis approximated the vector lines of the sediment metals quotient. This suggests that these species were more abundant in sites with lower sediment metals contamination and lower salinity. In contrast, T. glaber, S. maculata, S. ciliata, and Sillago sp. did not show a strong relationship to sediment metals or PAH, but approximated the vector lines of the temperature and pH covariates. This suggests that these species were more abundant in areas where temperatures were higher and pH values lower (Figure 7b). While sediment metals correlate significantly in this analysis, salinity, pH, and temperature still contribute a greater proportion of the variance (Table 7b). In addition, overall community composition of the inner zone biological data does not differ significantly by disturbance category (Table 8). There is no correlation between the biological assemblage and sediment PAH levels (Table 7b). Finally, turbidity did not correlate strongly in either covariate analysis (Table 7).


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 disturbance category.Data from inner zone sites only. a) Physico-chemical, sediment metals, and sediment PAH covariates. b) Plots of six highest correlating species (Multiple Correlation >0.2). Community composition does not differ significantly by disturbance category but is presented for graphical purposes (p = 0.437).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0026353-g007: Principal Coordinated Ordination (PCO) of correlations between covariate factors and two dimensional plots of community composition by disturbance category.Data from inner zone sites only. a) Physico-chemical, sediment metals, and sediment PAH covariates. b) Plots of six highest correlating species (Multiple Correlation >0.2). Community composition does not differ significantly by disturbance category but is presented for graphical purposes (p = 0.437).
Mentions: A second covariate analysis was undertaken considering inner zone data only. This allowed the inclusion of sediment PAH data as an additional covariate (which was available only from inner zone sites). As shown in Table 7b, salinity, pH, temperature, and sediment metal quotient values significantly correlated with the fish assemblages when inner zone sites were considered separately from the outer zone data (Figure 7a). Within the inner zone sites the distributions of M. elongatus and A. jacksoniensis approximated the vector lines of the sediment metals quotient. This suggests that these species were more abundant in sites with lower sediment metals contamination and lower salinity. In contrast, T. glaber, S. maculata, S. ciliata, and Sillago sp. did not show a strong relationship to sediment metals or PAH, but approximated the vector lines of the temperature and pH covariates. This suggests that these species were more abundant in areas where temperatures were higher and pH values lower (Figure 7b). While sediment metals correlate significantly in this analysis, salinity, pH, and temperature still contribute a greater proportion of the variance (Table 7b). In addition, overall community composition of the inner zone biological data does not differ significantly by disturbance category (Table 8). There is no correlation between the biological assemblage and sediment PAH levels (Table 7b). Finally, turbidity did not correlate strongly in either covariate analysis (Table 7).

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