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Fish in the coastal seascape: exploring ecological processes and connectivity for conservation of temperate fish communities
Stockholms universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och botanik.ORCID-id: 0000-0002-8689-3561
2019 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

The need to understand patterns and processes in the marine environment has never been so profound as today, particularly as anthropogenic pressures upon coastal regions are drastically affecting habitats and species across a vast range. One approach to further understand these patterns and processes is through the use of seascape ecology methods. Pertinently, fish are ideal candidates to use in many seascape ecological studies due to their mobility and potential to connect a multitude of patches and habitats throughout their life cycle. They also serve as fundamental components in coastal food webs and are of economic benefit. This thesis strives to answer how fish assemblages are affected by ecological and environmental patterns and changes in temperate seascapes throughout the Swedish Skagerrak and the Baltic Sea. 

Initially, the spatial arrangement of benthic habitat patches in coastal Skagerrak was investigated in relation to the fish community inhabiting seagrass meadows. Seascape structure and complexity was shown to create optimal or sub-optimal areas for certain parts of the fish community. For instance, simpler seascapes (e.g. less habitat patches and edges) were found to have a higher density of juvenile fish, while wrasse densities were related to more complex seascapes. This offers insights into the consequences of spatial patterning in the marine environment and possible effects of habitat loss in the ecosystem (paper I). Through surveying fish assemblages in common, shallow-water habitats, the more structurally complex habitats, i.e. seagrass and macroalgae, were found to harbour a greater fish abundance compared to the less complex unvegetated soft bottoms. However, all three habitats were deemed important for their role in supporting juvenile fish species, thus suggesting that embayments in this environment might function as seascape nurseries (paper II). The importance of connectivity of a marine predator was discovered using acoustic telemetry and network analysis. This study demonstrated that sea surface temperature was of major importance for Atlantic cod movement dynamics within a fjord system as well as revealing the significance of localised connectivity at varying spatial and temporal scales (paper III). Finally, spatial pattern relationships and fish assemblages were explored in Baltic seagrass meadows. Fish assemblages were dominated by meso-predators (i.e. three-spined stickleback) both during summer and autumn, with a noticeable lack of larger piscivorous species throughout both seasons. Correlative analysis showed that fish densities were influenced by seagrass habitat structure (negatively), area of bare sediment (negatively) and habitat patch diversity (positively) (paper IV).  

This thesis has lifted a central role in addressing important seascape ecology questions and tools in the temperate marine environment. Specifically, it highlights the importance of analysing patterns and processes at multiple scales to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the relationships between fish and their environments, which is relevant for marine spatial planning and conservation. 

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Stockholm: Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University , 2019. , s. 37
Nyckelord [en]
seascape ecology, landscape ecology, seagrass, marine habitats, fish, spatial analysis, connectivity, conservation, Sweden, temperate
Nationell ämneskategori
Naturvetenskap
Forskningsämne
marin ekologi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166242ISBN: 978-91-7797-590-8 (tryckt)ISBN: 978-91-7797-591-5 (digital)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-166242DiVA, id: diva2:1295716
Disputation
2019-05-03, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-Huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20, Stockholm, 10:00 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Anmärkning

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Tillgänglig från: 2019-04-10 Skapad: 2019-03-12 Senast uppdaterad: 2019-03-28Bibliografiskt granskad
Delarbeten
1. Seascape structure and complexity influence temperate seagrass fish assemblage composition
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Seascape structure and complexity influence temperate seagrass fish assemblage composition
2017 (Engelska)Ingår i: Ecography, ISSN 0906-7590, E-ISSN 1600-0587, Vol. 40, nr 8, s. 936-946Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding how spatial patterning relates to ecological processes is fundamental to define important species-environment associations at broader scales. Analyses targeting habitat structure (i.e. composition and configuration) in terrestrial landscapes are increasing, but similar studies in marine landscapes are still relatively uncommon. In this study, we explored how seascape structure and complexity (determined from significant spatial pattern metrics) influenced summer and autumn fish assemblage composition in 30 seagrass (Zostera marina) meadows along the west coast of Sweden. Species density was not influenced by seascape structure in any season. In contrast, the majority of significant fish assemblage variables were influenced by seascape structure during the summer (i.e. abundance and proportion of juveniles, abundance of Labridae and abundance of occasional shallow-water visitors) whilst fewer in the autumn (i.e. abundance of occasional shallow-water visitors and Synganthidae). For instance, less complex seascapes were more suitable for juvenile assemblages in summer, as these seascapes exhibit larger patch sizes of appropriate habitat (e.g. Z. marina) and less edge boundaries providing refuges from predators and food resources. Abundances of migrating fish, such as the sea trout Salmo trutta, also responded positively to a less complex seascape in the summer though perhaps ecological processes, such as prey availability, were additional contributing factors driving this relationship. High complexity seascapes only had a positive influence on the abundance of taxa using multiple habitats (Labridae during the summer). Our study shows that fish assemblages in temperate marine environments are significantly linked to spatial habitat patterning and seascape complexity. This offers valuable insights into species-habitat-seascape linkages, information important for coastal conservation and marine spatial planning.

Nationell ämneskategori
Biologiska vetenskaper
Forskningsämne
marin ekologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147138 (URN)10.1111/ecog.02745 (DOI)000406971800004 ()
Tillgänglig från: 2017-09-28 Skapad: 2017-09-28 Senast uppdaterad: 2019-03-12Bibliografiskt granskad
2. Habitat Connectivity of Fish in Temperate Shallow-Water Seascapes
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Habitat Connectivity of Fish in Temperate Shallow-Water Seascapes
2018 (Engelska)Ingår i: Frontiers in Marine Science, E-ISSN 2296-7745, Vol. 4, artikel-id 440Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Movements of organisms comprise a fundamental aspect of coastal habitat connectivity. Determining the distribution and co-existence of habitat specialists and generalists in shallow-water seascapes leads to a better understanding of the strength of connectivity-driven community patterns in coastal areas. In this study, unbaited Remote Underwater Video (RUV) systems were used to examine habitat usage and connectivity of fish within six shallow-water coastal seascapes on the Swedish west coast. Within each seascape, video sampling was conducted at three different shallow-water habitats: seagrass meadows, rock-macroalgae and unvegetated areas, in June 2014. Comparative analyses showed that the shallow-water fish community was similar in adjacent habitats within a seascape, though abundances of fish were higher within the structurally complex habitats. All habitats were dominated by juveniles, highlighting the importance of the coastal seascape for early fish life stages. The findings demonstrate that adjacent shallow-water habitats in temperate coastal waters are linked through similar species utilization and that the coastal matrix could be regarded in terms of a seascape nursery for fish. The study highlights the importance of considering shallow-water seascape connectivity in coastal conservation planning and management.

Nyckelord
fish assemblages, RUV, seascape nursery, habitat connectivity, marine coastal ecosystem
Nationell ämneskategori
Ekologi
Forskningsämne
marin ekologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158218 (URN)10.3389/fmars.2017.00440 (DOI)
Tillgänglig från: 2018-07-25 Skapad: 2018-07-25 Senast uppdaterad: 2019-03-12Bibliografiskt granskad
3. Sea surface temperature dictates movement and connectivity of Atlantic cod in a coastal fjord system
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Sea surface temperature dictates movement and connectivity of Atlantic cod in a coastal fjord system
Visa övriga...
(Engelska)Manuskript (preprint) (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Nationell ämneskategori
Biologiska vetenskaper
Forskningsämne
marin ekologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166239 (URN)
Tillgänglig från: 2019-02-20 Skapad: 2019-02-20 Senast uppdaterad: 2019-03-12Bibliografiskt granskad
4. Exploring seagrass fish assemblages in relation to the habitat patch mosaic in the brackish Baltic Sea
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Exploring seagrass fish assemblages in relation to the habitat patch mosaic in the brackish Baltic Sea
Visa övriga...
(Engelska)Manuskript (preprint) (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Nationell ämneskategori
Biologiska vetenskaper
Forskningsämne
marin ekologi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-166240 (URN)
Tillgänglig från: 2019-02-20 Skapad: 2019-02-20 Senast uppdaterad: 2019-03-12Bibliografiskt granskad

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