Diel and tidal variation in surf zone fish assemblages of a sheltered beach in southern Brazil
Diel and tidal variations of fish assemblages were assessed at Pontal beach, southern Brazil, using a seine net. Species richness was greater at night, whereas fish number, weight, and richness (cornmunity indicators) were all influenced by the tidal state. Samples from rising tides were more representative, probably due to onshore fish movements for feeding purposes. However, lower catches were associated with high tides, mainly through net avoidance, indicating that sampling in these conditions is not highly informative. Clupeoids exhibited greater variation in a 24 h period, and the night occurrence of A. tricolor and daylight shoaling of Harengula clupeola, Anchoa parva and Sardinella brasiliensis suggested distinct strategies for avoiding daylight predators. In some species, this behaviour may have been induced by the bottom morphology and tidal state, facilitating nearshore grouping. In addition to being caught at night, the occurrences of Menticirrhus littoralis, Pomadasys corvinaefórmis, Umbrina coroides and Hyporhamphus unifasciatus indicated a spatial niche partition according to tidal state. Although not evaluated properly, temporal fluctuations could reflect species recruitment patterns. Seasonal fluctuations have to be considered when analysing short-term changes in the cornmunity as such fluctuations are synchronized with the natural history of the species, making it difficult to interpret short-term variations in isolation.