Volume 57

Univariate and Multivariate Assessment of the Relationships Between Benthic Flora and Coastal Fish Communities of the Bahamas

Nero, V.L.; Sullivan-Sealy, K.M.
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Date: November, 2004

Pages: 653-664

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Seventh Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: St. Petersburg, Florida

Country: USA


We completed surveys of coastal fish communities and benthic flora at different study sites, seasons, and years to identify differences in fish communities as well as to determine the features of the benthic flora that were most responsible for the observed differences in fish community composition. Fish communities were significantly different at different sites, seasons, and sample sequences (site-season-year combinations). Multivariate analyses identified cover of specific species and functional forms of benthic flora as the major factors determining species abundances. Total flora cover and seagrass cover were more important in influencing species and trophic group biomasses than abundances. Univariate analyses also highlighted the effects of total flora cover and cover of various functional groups on the number of species, diversity, and mean total biomass. In general, univariate analyses tended to provide stronger (more significant) results than multivariate analyses. We conclude that there is a strong relationship between benthic flora and fish community composition, and that different floral parameters affect different aspects of coastal fish communities.

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