The key role of seagrasses for fishes

Seagrass meadows play a paramount role in nearshore habitats. Among other functions, seagrasses provide a key habitat for a range of fishes. In our beloved Canary Islands, seagrass habitats constituted by the strap-like seagrass Cymodocea nodosa have largely been though to support fishes during their early life stages. Empirical evidence for a range of locations, islands and times was, however, lacking. We have just published a paper where we demonstrate that this habitat constitutes, during spring and summer, a nursery habitat for juvenile fishes of many species, several of them commercially targeted. A total of 36 fish species were found, and Spondyliosoma cantharus, Diplodus annularis, Syngnathus typhle, Mullus surmuletus, and Pagellus erythrinus were the dominant in terms of abundance. To look into details, just jump into the Ciencias Marinas webpage and download the paper for free. The reference is F. Espino, Tuya, F., Brito, A., Haroun, R.J. 2011. Ichthyofauna associated with Cymodocea nodosa meadows in the Canarian Archipelago (central eastern Atlantic): Community structure and nursery role. Ciencias Marinas 37: 157–174.

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