Temperate fish community variation over seasons in relation to large-scale geographic seascape variables
Journal article, 2018
In shallow-water marine environments, ecosystem functioning is a complex interworking of fine-scale characteristics and region-wide factors, and the importance of these variables can vary on multiple temporal and spatial scales. This underwater video study targeted seasonal changes in the fish community of seagrass habitats along the Swedish west coast and the influence of offshore seascape variables (latitudinal position, wave exposure, open ocean, and deep water). Results showed that fish assemblage structure exhibited seasonal changes between summer and autumn and strong spatiotemporal variations in the importance of offshore factors affecting shallow-water fish communities. In summer, abundance from the Gobiidae family responded to wave exposure, whereas the Gadidae family and juvenile migrant habitat preference guild responded to latitudinal position and proximity to deep water. In autumn, deep water was related to abundance of Gadidae and juvenile migrants, whereas latitudinal position influenced Gasterosteidae. These findings underscore the importance of understanding the influence of offshore factors on facets of coastal fish assemblages to address large-scale geographic connectivity along nearshore– offshore gradients.