Environmental Biology of Fishes

Influence of environmental variables on abundance and movement of bonefish ( Albula vulpes ) in the Caribbean Sea and a tropical estuary of Belize and Mexico

Bonefish (Albula vulpes) is a socioeconomically important species that supports a data-poor recreational fishery in developing countries. Understanding how environmental variables influence its abundance and movement is important for better decision-making. This study used mark-recapture to examine the association between abiotic (temperature, salinity, wind speed, tides moon phase, and sediment coarseness) and biotic (presence of predators and bottom vegetation) variables with bonefish movement and abundance in Corozal-Chetumal bay and the adjacent Caribbean coast of southern Mexico and northern Belize. We used seines to capture bonefish, marked 9657 using dart tags and recaptured 595 fish (6.2% recapture rate) during 16 sample periods between January 2016 and February 2018. Marked bonefish size ranged 19.5–56.4 cm and recaptured 23.9–49.4 cm. Total abundance for each seine sample and distance between mark and recapture locations were used in two separate multiple stepwise regression analyses. Movement was negatively associated with temperature and predator presence, while sediment coarseness and moon phase were positively associated. Temperature increases were associated with short-distance movements. Temperature decreases and high-illumination lunar phases were associated with longer-distance movement and likely related to spawning migrations. Presence of predators, like barracuda, was associated with low bonefish abundances and was likely an adaptive response to form multiple schools of low density by bonefish to avoid predation. These spatiotemporal movement and abundance patterns are recommended to be taken into account in fisheries and protected areas management and to inform the decision-making process in urban and tourism development in coastal habitats.

Glossaire technique

Localité, c.-à-d., environnement dans lequel un organisme vit . lieu où...
Mouvement de faune d'une région à une autre . mouvement d'un sous-ensemble...