Imprint of monsoonal patterns on the fish assemblage in coastal waters of south-east India: a case study

S Biswas, K Jahir Hussain, N P I Das, B C Russell, K K Satpathy, S S Mishra
Journal of Fish Biology 2014, 85 (3): 773-99
The composition, species richness and diversity of a coastal fish assemblage from the Kalpakkam coast of south-east India are described along with temporal distribution patterns related to seasonal fluctuations in dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, chlorophyll-a, phytoplankton and zooplankton species richness and density. A total of 244 fish species belonging to 21 orders, 87 families and 163 genera were recorded. The fish assemblage was dominated by reef-associated species, followed by demersal species. The majority of the species (63%) are widely distributed in the western Indo-Pacific as well as in the central Indo-Pacific. Jaccard's coefficient analysis showed three distinct seasonal patterns of fish occurrence: pre-monsoon (PrM), monsoon (M) and post-monsoon (PoM). The maximum number of species was during the PrM period, followed by the PoM and M periods. Species occurrence analysis showed Sardinella longiceps to be dominant during PrM and M periods, Leiognathus dussumieri during the M period and Secutor insidiator and Secutor ruconius during the M and PoM periods. Canonical correspondence analysis indicated that salinity and rainfall were the two most influential environmental factors strongly correlated with temporal variation in the fish assemblage. The physico-chemical conditions, in combination with factors such as greater food availability and shelter, might control the seasonal local distribution of the ichthyofauna in these Indian coastal waters.

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