Structure of fish assemblages along spatial gradients in a deep subtropical reservoir (Itaipu Reservoir, Brazil-Paraguay border)

  • De Oliveira E
  • Minte-Vera C
  • Goulart E
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Abstract

We assessed the structure of the fish assemblages in the Itaipu Reservoir (Parana ´ River, Brazil-Paraguay) along a longitudinal or river-dam gradient (composed of riverine, transitional and lacustrine zones) and transversal or upstream–downstream gradients of the tributaries (composed of lotic and lentic stretches of tributaries and reservoir shores). We sampled stations distributed along the environmental gradients quarterly during two years. We caught mostly piscivorous, detritivorous and insectivorous fishes. The structure of the whole fish assemblage both at the regional spatial scale and at the zones of each gradient was significantly non-random according to null models and ordination analysis. When the assemblage was broken into groups, the piscivores and detritivores as well as the predators and prey showed significant nonrandom structure whereas the insectivores, omnivores, herbivores, benthophages and mud-eaters showed random structure. The first groups are those that had more species and the last mentioned are those with fewer species. The tributaries varied more in composition among themselves than the reservoir shores, showing a high heterogeneity in the transversal gradient. The most widespread species was the introduced piscivore Plagioscion squamosissimus. The loricariids were most abundant in the lotic and lentic stretches of the tributaries. We also observed temporal variability in species composition, mainly in the reservoir shores possibly due to the influence of the upstream floodplain on the migratory fish that periodically use the reservoir as feeding habitat. In the tributaries, the temporal changes were less predictable. A combination of habitat preferences and interactions among species, especially predator–prey relations, might be responsible for the observed structure patterns

Author-supplied keywords

  • Co-occurrence null models
  • Dam
  • Paraná River
  • Predator-prey relationships
  • Spatiotemporal structure
  • Trophic guilds

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