Ecology of larval fishes around reefs in the Gulf of California, Mexico.
AuthorBrogan, Michael William.
Committee ChairThomson, Donald A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMy research has focused on the identification, assemblage dynamics, and horizontal distribution patterns of larval fishes around rocky reefs in the Gulf of California, Mexico. In Chapter One, I analyze a series of light-trap collections taken over 35 nights at San Carlos, Sonora. Nearly 14,000 larvae from 19 families were collected. The five most abundant families contributed 90% of the larvae and the top ten families contributed 99%. Larvae of non-pelagic spawners (gobiids, labrisomids, tripterygiids, chaenopsids, pomacentrids, and bythitids) dominated the collections. Larval catches ranged from 7.5 to 2330.3 larvae/45 min, but changes in catch rate were not related to changes in ambient moonlight. In contrast, the volume of zooplankton collected was correlated with moonlight intensity. Dynamics of the ten dominant fish families were highly variable, but in most cases a large proportion of the larvae were caught on just a few nights. Taxonomic and size selectivities were apparently less severe in my study than in previous Australian studies, and the use of light-traps should be explored further. In Chapter Two, I outline the prediction that larvae of small, non-pelagic spawning fishes should more frequently be retained over reefs during development than fishes with other combinations of body size and egg type, and I describe my research testing this prediction. I made about 160 collections of fish larvae with a light-trap and plankton net at 1, 20, and 100 m from rocky shorelines. These collections yielded 27,265 larvae from about 50 families. Based on larval size frequencies, near-reef concentration gradients, and abundances offshore, I identified four families that can complete development over the reef but also have larvae dispersed offshore (Clupeidae, Engraulididae, Gerreidae, and Haemulidae). In addition, I identified seven families that primarily develop over reefs and have few or no larvae dispersed offshore (Tripterygiidae, Chaenopsidae, some Labrisomidae, Dactyloscopidae, some Gobiidae, Gobiesocidae, and Bythitidae). Adults of these seven families are mostly small, non-pelagic spawners. Larvae from four taxa of larger non-pelagic spawners (Ophioblennius, Labrisomus, Balistes, and Pomacentridae) did not appear to develop over reefs. These findings are in accord with the prediction I made. Chapter Three is a preliminary guide to identification of Gulf of California blennioid larvae. Although blennioid larvae are poorly known and few species have been described, they are well represented (ca. 20,000 larvae from five families) in my collections taken near reefs in the Gulf. Illustrations of 20 species, and brief descriptions of key characters for these and several additional species, are provided. More detailed taxonomic studies on Gulf blenniid, dactyloscopid, tripterygiid, labrisomid, and chaenopsid larvae are in progress.
Degree ProgramEcology and Evolutionary Biology