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Trape, S., Durand, J. - D., Vigliola, L., & Panfili, J. (2017). Recruitment success and growth variability of mugilids in a West African estuary impacted by climate change. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 198, 53–62.
Résumé: With the persistence of a drought since the late 1960s, some West African estuaries became permanently reversed in term of salinity gradient and hypersaline waters are present in their upstream part (salinity >60). To understand the mechanisms regulating fish recruitment intensity in these estuaries and evaluate the consequences of freshwater shortages on juvenile habitat quality, a growth study was conducted in the Saloum hypersaline estuary (Senegal). The Mugilidae fish family, highly representative of estuarine environments, was targeted and several species sampled (Chelon dumerili, Mugil bananensis and M. cf. curema sp. M). Juveniles were sampled monthly all the year round in three areas of the estuary exhibiting strongly contrasted habitat conditions. Otolith sections were used to estimate the ages, reconstruct growth trajectories, estimate the duration of the oceanic larval phase, and evaluate juvenile growth variability along the salinity gradient. Analyses revealed that the temporal recruitment variability of C. dumerili, with 2 annual cohorts, was not mainly induced by growth-selection mechanisms, but probably more by predation pressures. Juveniles exhibited significantly faster growth rates in the lower salinity suggesting that benthic food availability was a strong factor controlling habitat quality of early juveniles. Salinity had also a clear impact when reducing the growth in hypersaline conditions and/or selecting slower growing individuals. Moderate freshwater inputs positively affected the nursery function of the estuary for mugilids by enhancing the productivity of the first trophic levels. In a long term, the global change could have an impact of the mugilid fishery and its management.