Characterization of the fish assemblage in different coastal habitats in an area heavily impacted by tourism

C. A. Sánchez-Caballero*, J. M. Borges-Souza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strong relationships exist between reef fishes and their habitat, anthropogenic habitat alterations may lead variations in the associated fish. Knowledge of fish species distribution over coastal areas heavily impacted by tourism over the Mexican Central Pacific is scarce. This work aims to identify the reef fish species on different coastal habitats (sand, rock, mud) present in Puerto Marques Bay. The fish community was characterized in terms of species richness, abundance, feeding behavior and was further assessed using similarity analysis. The number of species and the relative abundance of fish species recorded varied significantly among the habitats (ANOSIM test: R = 0.676, P < 0.01, 999 permutations). In rocky areas, the highest value of richness, exclusive species and the number of organisms were recorded. In comparison with soft bottoms, the complexity of hard substrates plays a significant role in reducing prey abundances and providing nesting sites and different food resources such as invertebrates and macroalgae. Mugil cephalus was the only species recorded with muddy habitat affinity, where it feeds on detritus. Predatory species like Caranx caballus, Lutjanus jordani and Lutjanus peru, generally associated with complex rocky substrates were recorded exclusively in sandy areas near to the tourist marina. Although our data do not allow to conclude the anthropogenic outcomes in the reef fish community structure, they suggest that fish assemblage from sandy bottoms could be affected by the presence of artificial structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalRegional Studies in Marine Science
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Acapulco City
  • Anthropogenic disturbances
  • Central Mexican Pacific
  • Reef fish
  • Trophic groups


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