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Impact of salinity on early life history traits of three estuarine fish species in Senegal

Abstract : The adaptive mechanisms on the early life stages of fishes to hypersaline stress are still poorly understood and probably determine the resistance of a population to disruption, compared with other less plastic species. The Casamance River in Senegal is an ideal location to test the adaptation to salinity as a dam was built in 1998 to exclude saline water intrusion. This lowered the salinity from 70 to 5 upstream and 60 downstream. The salinity influence on the growth in the early life of three West African fish species (Ethmalosa fimbriata, Sarotherodon melanotheron, and Tilapia guineensis) was studied using the width of microstructures in the otoliths and the individual migratory behaviour analysed from strontium (Sr) to calcium (Ca) ratios in the otoliths. The Sr:Ca ratio was quantified along individual transects measured from the posterior edge of the otolith to the core. The fishes were sampled on both sides of the dam that separated water with low salinity upstream from metahaline and hyperhaline water downstream. The results showed that salinity has different influence on the growth of each species. Ethmalosa fimbriata has the highest growth during the first 180 days in the freshwaters, indicating growth inhibition in the hyperhaline areas. For the two other species no growth difference were found. The Sr/Ca ratio varied widely, in Tilapia and Sarotherodon from below the dam. Individual life histories were more heterogeneous than upstream and showed a crossing of the dam for some individuals which could reach half of the fishes analysed. On the contrary in E. fimbriata, despite the large range of salinity, identical Sr/Ca profiles were found both upstream and downstream. This indicated that Sr/Ca ratio was not appropriate to evaluate life history patterns linked to salinity for this specie.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 3, 2009 - 5:34:32 PM
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Maylis Labonne, Eric Morize, Pierre Scolan, Raymond Laë, Eric Dabas, et al.. Impact of salinity on early life history traits of three estuarine fish species in Senegal. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Elsevier, 2009, 82 (4), pp.673-681. ⟨10.1016/j.ecss.2009.03.005⟩. ⟨insu-00401675⟩

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