Evaluation of the entry of white shrimp postlarvae (Decapoda: Penaeidae) to a nursery area in the southern Gulf of Mexico
ABSTRACT The immigration of white shrimp Penaeus setiferus (Decapoda: Penaeidae) postlarvae (Pls) into the Terminos Lagoon was studied to determine the annual pattern of abundance and its relationship with temperature, salinity, tidal current velocity, and river discharge. Zooplankton samples were simultaneously obtained fortnightly at surface, mid-water, and bottom. The nets used were 50 cm in diameter, 1.5 m in length and 505 μm mesh size. The results indicated a postlarval seasonal immigration pattern, with the lowest average density values from March to May and October to November, and significantly higher values from June to September; maximum peaks occurred in June and September. High Pls densities were obtained between one and three hours after the tidal inflow started. Temperature and salinity varied little during each sampling period and had no apparent effect on immigration, but did have an effect on the seasonal abundance cycle. The multiple regression models indicated that the tidal current velocity and the temperature explained 86% of the variation in Pls abundance during immigration to the Terminos lagoon. The larval migration varied at different levels, with highest densities occurring at a medium depth of 5 m. The Pls entered an optimal range of tidal current velocity (between 0.6 and 0.9 m3 s-1). The main entry mechanism was through the tide current of the Selective Tide Stream Transport, where the Pls could also select an optimum current velocity, avoiding the strata of higher turbulence that would imply higher energy expenditures.