Stuthmann, Lara, Castellanos‐Galindo, Gustavo and Robertson, D. Ross (2022) The functional ecology of mangrove fishes across the Isthmus of Panama. Diversity and Distributions . DOI

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Aim: Biogeographic history and variation in modern environmental conditions can greatly influence local and regional community structure and, more generally, eco-system functioning. This is clearly exemplified at the Isthmus of Panama where ma-rine communities and environments from the Caribbean Sea and the Tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean differ despite ancient connections during the Miocene and Pleistocene. Here, we compare the functional (implied from traits) and isotopic structure of man-grove fish communities from those two biogeographic regions, which have been sepa-rated by the Isthmus of Panama for ~3 my.Location: Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Panama (Eastern Pacific and Caribbean Sea).Methods: We gathered data on five functional traits (salinity preference, body mass, diet, position in the water column and lifespan) of mangrove fishes from the sampled regions. We also analysed δ13C and δ15C isotopic values and calculated functional isotopic metrics of the most abundant fish species inhabiting mangroves of these two regions.Results: The taxonomic composition and functional and trophic diversity differed between the mangrove fish communities of the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific. Although the species richness of both assemblages was similar, there was very little taxonomic overlap between them: Snooks (Centropomidae) numerically dominated in the Eastern Pacific, whereas grunts (Haemulidae) and snappers (Lutjanidae) domi-nated in the Caribbean Sea. Functional divergence (FDiv) and isotopic richness (IRic) were higher in the Caribbean than in the Eastern Pacific, indicating differences in the way fishes use mangroves in these areas.Main conclusions: Taxonomic and functional characteristics of mangrove fish assem-blages across biogeographic realms can be strongly influenced by local environmental factors (e.g. tidal regimes, the presence of adjacent coastal ecosystems and produc-tivity), and these can override similarities that recent historical connections of faunas might be expected to produce. All such aspects need to be considered when seeking generalizations about ecosystem functioning.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Science Management
Affiliations > Not ZMT
Ecology > Experimental Aquaculture
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.:
ISSN: 1366-9516
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2022 16:04
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2022 16:04

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