Ichthyoplankton dynamics in a highly urbanized estuary
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Spatio-temporal distribution and composition of ichthyoplankton assemblages were studied in the Golden Horn estuary (Istanbul) over a 10-month period. Environmental parameters were considered to determine the environmental status in different parts (upper, middle and lower) of the estuary. The ichthyoplankton composition of the Golden Horn estuary consisted of 23 species and was dominated by Mullus sp., Diplodus spp. and Liza sp. The largest densities of fish eggs and larvae were found in September 2009 with 786.4 ind. 100 m(-3) and 355.9 ind. 100 m(-3), respectively. As supported by the multivariate analysis, most species showed a seasonal pattern, with the presence of higher densities during summer and winter. Moreover, the spatial pattern showed that ichthyoplankton distribution and diversity was relatively high in the lower part of the Golden Horn and gradually decreased through the upper parts. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that spatial changes in depth and water clarity were the main factors forcing larval assemblage distribution and leading to a decrease in density and diversity of fish larvae through the upper part of the estuary. For the seasonal changes, sea surface salinity and chlorophyll a were the main factors in shaping the structure of the larval assemblage and increasing sea surface temperature lead to an increase in the density and diversity of fish larvae.