Abstract

Seasonal and spatial structure of reef fish community in San Jose Island, Gulf of California, Mexico. The Gulf of California is one of the most fish diverse areas of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean. In spite of its economic value, few works have considered fish community studies for optimum management. With the aim to determine the seasonal and spatial variation of fish communities in eight locations around the San José Island, some ecological research was conducted from March 2001 to February 2002. For this, visual censuses were used in 48 transects of 100x5m (500m2); specific analysis such as diversity values, the relative abundance and the biological value indexes were undertaken, and a principal component analysis applied. Our results clearly showed two climatic seasons of cold and warm waters. A total number of 26 608 organisms of 112 species and 76 genera of fishes were identified. We used the relative abundance index to determine the most impor- tant species, which were: Abudefduf troschelii, Thalassoma lucasanum, Stegastes rectifraenum, Mulloidichthys dentatus, Chromis atrilobata, Lutjanus argentiventris and Scarus ghobban. February was the month with the lowest diversity with a value of 3.12bits/ind. and October was the most diverse (4.13bits/ind.). According to the biological value index (BVI) and considering the climatic seasons, the fish species with the highest score during cold months were: A. troschelii, M. dentatus, S. ghobban, S. rectifraenum and T. lucasanum. Besides, for warmer months, the same fish species were observed but in different order and abundance: A. troschelii, S. ghobban, S. rectifraenum, T. lucasanum and M. dentatus. Using the biological value index, 13 species were those which had a higher overall score. The locations by the Eastern side of the island had a greater number of species and abundance of fish. The principal component analysis (PCA) applied using the seasonal data, species richness, diversity, equity, number of species and total abundance during the warmer months also a PCA within spatial data, showed that location in Punta Colorada had a high correlation with the number of species, diversity and total abundance.
Keywords: visual censuses, fish community, rocky reefs, san José island, gulf of california