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Shuai F.,Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute | Shuai F.,Key Laboratory of the Conservation and Ecological Restoration of Fishery Resource in the Pearl River | Shuai F.,University Paul Sabatier | Li X.,Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Knowledge of temporal patterns of larval fish occurrence is limited in south China, despite its ecological importance. This research examines the annual and seasonal patterns of fish larval presence in the large subtropical Pearl River. Data is based on samples collected every two days, from 2006 to 2013. In total, 45 taxa representing 13 families and eight orders were sampled. The dominant larval family was Cyprinidae, accounting for 27 taxa. Squaliobarbus curriculus was the most abundant species, followed by Megalobrama terminalis, Xenocypris davidi, Cirrhinus molitorella, Hemiculter leuscisculus and Squalidus argentatus. Fish larvae abundances varied significantly throughout the seasons (multivariate analyses: Cluster, SIMPROF and ANOSIM). The greatest numbers occurred between May and September, peaking from June through August, which corresponds to the reproductive season. In this study, redundancy analysis was used to describe the relationship between fish larval abundance and associated environmental factors. Mean water temperature, river discharge, atmospheric pressure, maximum temperature and precipitation play important roles in larval occurrence patterns. According to seasonal variations, fish larvae occurrence is mainly affected by water temperature. It was also noted that the occurrence of Salanx reevesii and Cyprinus carpio larvae is associated with higher dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations, higher atmospheric pressure and lower water temperatures which occur in the spring. On the other hand, M. terminalis, X. davidi, and C. molitorella are associated with high precipitation, high river discharge, low atmospheric pressure and low DO concentrations which featured during the summer months. S. curriculus also peaks in the summer and is associated with peak water temperatures and minimum NH3-N concentrations. Rhinogobius giurinus occur when higher atmospheric pressure, lower precipitation and lower river discharges occur in the autumn. Dominant fish species stagger their spawning period to avoid intraspecific competition for food resources during early life stages; a coexistence strategy to some extent. This research outlines the environmental requirements for successful spawning for different fish species. Understanding processes such as those outlined in this research paper is the basis of conservation of fish community diversity which is a critical resource to a successful sustainable fishery in the Pearl River. © 2016 Shuai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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