Changes in the composition of ichthyoplankton assemblage and plastic debris in mangrove creeks relative to moon phases

Lunar influence on the distribution of fish larvae, zooplankton and plastic debris in mangrove creeks of the Goiana Estuary, Brazil, was studied over a lunar cycle. Cetengraulis edentulus, Anchovia clupeoides and Rhinosardinia bahiensis were the most abundant fish larvae (56·6%), independent of the moon phase. The full moon had a positive influence on the abundance of Gobionellus oceanicus, Cynoscion acoupa and Atherinella brasiliensis, and the new moon on Ulaema lefroyi. The full and new moons also influenced the number of zoeae and megalopae of Ucides cordatus, protozoeae and larvae of caridean shrimps, and the number of hard and soft plastic debris, both <5 and >5 mm. Micro and macroplastics were present in samples from all 12 creeks studied, at densities similar to the third most abundant taxon, R. bahiensis. Cetengraulis edentulus and R. bahiensis showed a strong positive correlation with the last quarter moon, when there was less zooplankton available in the creeks and higher abundance of microplastic threads. Anchovia clupeoides, Diapterus rhombeus, U. lefroyi and hard microplastics were positively associated with different moon phases, when calanoid copepods, Caridean larvae and zoeae of U. cordatus were highly available in the creeks. Cynoscion acoupa, G. oceanicus and A. brasiliensis were strongly associated with the full moon, when protozoeae of caridean shrimps and megalopae of U. cordatus were also highly available, as were hard and soft macroplastics, paint chips (<5 mm) and soft microplastics. The results reinforce the role of mangrove creeks as nursery habitats. The moon phases influenced the distribution of fish larvae species, zooplankton and plastic debris by changing their compositions and abundances in the mangrove creeks of the Goiana Estuary when under the influence of different tidal current regimes.

Lima, A. R. A., Barletta, M., Costa, M. F., Ramos, J. A. A., Dantas, D. V., Melo, P. A. M. C., Justino, A. K. S. and Ferreira, G. V. B., J Fish Biol, Volume 89, Issue 1, July 2016, Pages 619–640

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