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Title: Nekton communities in Hawaiian coastal wetlands: The distribution and abundance of introduced fish species

Author: MacKenzie, Richard Ames; Bruland, Gregory L.;

Date: 2012

Source: Estuaries and Coasts. 35:212-226

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Nekton communities were sampled from 38 Hawaiian coastal wetlands from 2007 to 2009 using lift nets, seines, and throw nets in an attempt to increase our understanding of the nekton assemblages that utilize these poorly studied ecosystems. Nekton were dominated by exotic species, primarily poeciliids (Gambusia affinis, Poecilia spp.) and tilapia. These fish were present in 50–85% of wetlands sampled; densities were up to 15 times greater than native species. High densities of exotic fish were generally found in isolated wetlands with no connection to the ocean, were often the only nekton present, were positively correlated with surface water total dissolved nitrogen, and were negatively correlated with native species richness. Native species were present in wetlands with complete or partial connection to the ocean. Additional studies are needed to document exotic fish impacts on native fish and bird habitat and whether native fish communities can contribute to invasion resistance of coastal wetlands. Future wetland restoration should include exotic fish eradication, maintenance of hydrological connection to the ocean, or programs to prevent future introductions in order to create wetlands that support native-dominated nekton communities.

Keywords: Gambusia affinis, Hawaii, Invasive fish, Poeciliidae, Tilapia, Tropical coastal wetlands

Publication Notes:

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MacKenzie, Richard Ames; Bruland, Gregory L. 2012. Nekton communities in Hawaiian coastal wetlands: The distribution and abundance of introduced fish species. Estuaries and Coasts. 35:212-226.


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