Utilization patterns of surfzone inhabiting fish.
It could be concluded that reproductive patterns for the studied species are linked to seasonal fluctuation, but when the species data were analyzed altogether in a community context, these trends were not evident and such information could have been lost. This is the fundamental reason why in this study much attention was paid to species utilization in respect to seasonal fluctuation in the surf zone environment. In summary, it is clear that shallow habitats such as sandy beaches represent a significant spatial resource to early life stages of many fish in Pontal do Sul, which becomes most important during summer and autumn months when many immigrant species occur in these habitats in search of shelter and abundant food supply. For this reason, efforts must be made to preserve these habitats (mainly estuarine and adjacent regions) by improving surveillance and control on any activity that could adversely affect the environmental health. The creation of connected and functional Marine Protected Areas could contribute to fish stocks sustainability, maintenance of food web relationships and environmental balance.
We are thankful to all students who helped in the field work; M. G. Camargo for advices in statistical analyses, and Centro de Estudos do Mar for the physical structure and assistance to develop this study. We would like to thank CAPES for the first author’s scholarship award.
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