Are vegetated areas of mangroves attractive to juvenile and small fish? The case of Dongzhaigang Bay, Hainan Island, China
- 生命科学－已发表论文 
Well-developed aerial roots of mangroves make it difficult to study how fish utilize the mangrove forest as a habitat. In the present study, we compared the differences in fish assemblages in three major types of habitats of mangrove estuary (vegetated area, treeless mudflat, and creek) of a mangrove bay in Hainan Island, China, at different seasons during two consecutive years. Three types of gears, centipede net, gill net and cast net, were used in the different habitats of mangrove estuary and sampling efficiencies among gears were evaluated. Centipede nets were used in all the three types of habitats and cast nets and gill nets in treeless mudflats and creeks. Fish assemblages were dependent on gears used. Centipede net could efficiently catch fish occurring both inside and outside of vegetated areas efficiently. A total of 115 fish species in 51 families were collected. In terms of numbers of species per family, Gobiidae was the most diverse (17 species), followed by Mugilidae (5 species). Almost all of the fish were juvenile or small fish and few predators were recorded, implying low predation pressure in the bay. ANOVA analysis showed that significant seasonal and spatial variation existed in species richness, abundance, and biomass, which were less in the vegetated areas than those of treeless mudflats and creeks. The attraction of vegetated areas to fish was less than that of creeks and mudflats. Many species were specific to a particular habitat type, 4 species occurring exclusively in the creeks, 45 species occurring exclusively in the treeless mudflats, and 5 species occurring exclusively in the vegetated areas. The results indicated that mangrove estuaries were potentially attractive habitats for juvenile and small fish, but this attraction was accomplished by a connection of vegetated areas, treeless mudflats and creeks, not only by vegetated areas. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.