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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2013, Article ID 176760, 17 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/176760
Research Article

Fish Larvae Response to Biophysical Changes in the Gulf of California, Mexico (Winter-Summer)

1Departamento de Estudios para el Desarrollo Sustentable de la Zona Costera, Centro Universitario de la Costa Sur (CUCSUR), Universidad de Guadalajara, Avendia V. Gómez Farías 82, 48980 San Patricio Melaque, JAL, Mexico
2Instituto Politécnico Nacional, CICIMAR-IPN, Departamento de Plancton y Ecología Marina, 23096 La Paz, BCS, Mexico
3Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Unidad La Paz, 23050 La Paz, BCS, Mexico

Received 17 April 2013; Revised 1 July 2013; Accepted 4 July 2013

Academic Editor: E. A. Pakhomov

Copyright © 2013 Raymundo Avendaño-Ibarra et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We analyzed the response of fish larvae assemblages to environmental variables and to physical macro- and mesoscale processes in the Gulf of California, during four oceanographic cruises (winter and summer 2005 and 2007). Physical data of the water column obtained through CTD casts, sea surface temperature, and chlorophyll a satellite imagery were used to detect mesoscale structures. Zooplankton samples were collected with standard Bongo net tows. Fish larvae assemblages responded to latitudinal and coastal-ocean gradients, related to inflow of water to the gulf, and to biological production. The 19°C and 21°C isotherms during winter, and 29°C and 31°C during summer, limited the distribution of fish larvae at the macroscale. Between types of eddy, the cyclonic (January) registered high abundance, species richness, and zooplankton volume compared to the other anticyclonic (March) and cyclonic (September). Thermal fronts (Big Islands) of January and July affected the species distribution establishing strong differences between sides. At the mesoscale, eddy and fronts coincided with the isotherms mentioned previously, playing an important role in emphasizing the differences among species assemblages. The multivariate analysis indicated that larvae abundance was highly correlated with temperature and salinity and with chlorophyll a and zooplankton volume during winter and summer, respectively.