Ecological integrity assessment of the fish assemblages of the Matigulu/Nyoni and Umvoti estuaries, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

  • GC O’Brien
  • R Swemmer
  • V Wepener

Abstract

The estuarine fish community index (EFCI) and an estuarine fish guild assessment (EFGA) were used in 2004 and 2008 to determine the ecological state and effects of selected ecosystem variables on the Umvoti and Matigulu/Nyoni estuaries. The EFCI indicated that the Matigulu/Nyoni Estuary was in a moderate state and that the Umvoti Estuary was in a poor to very poor state. The EFGA revealed a clear spatial differentiation, based on the estuaries’ fish community structures, that was being driven primarily by the freshwater-dominated state of the Umvoti Estuary and the poor water quality of the Umvoti Estuary. The analysis of estuarine fish assemblage characteristics was shown to contribute towards the management and conservation of these systems.

Keywords: conservation; estuarine health; fish community index; fish guild assessment; management

African Journal of Aquatic Science 2009, 34(3): 293–302

Author Biographies

GC O’Brien
Centre for Aquatic Research, Zoology Department, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, PO Box 542, Johannesburg 2006, South Africa
R Swemmer
Centre for Aquatic Research, Zoology Department, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, PO Box 542, Johannesburg 2006, South Africa
V Wepener
Centre for Aquatic Research, Zoology Department, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, PO Box 542, Johannesburg 2006, South Africa
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Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9364
print ISSN: 1608-5914