We sampled larval, juvenile and adult fishes from littoral-zone areas of a large reservoir (Lake Texoma, Oklahoma-Texas) (1) to characterize environmental factors that influenced fish community structure, (2) to examine how consistent fish-environment relationships were through ontogeny (i.e., larval vs. juvenile and adult), and (3) to measure the concordance of larval communities sampled during spring to juvenile and adult communities sampled at the same sites later in the year. Larval, juvenile and adult fish communities were dominated by Atherinidae (mainly inland silverside, Menidia beryllina) and Moronidae (mainly juvenile striped bass, Morone saxatilis) and were consistently structured along a gradient of site exposure to prevailing winds and waves. Larval, juvenile and adult communities along this gradient varied from atherinids and moronids at highly exposed sites to mostly centrarchids (primarily Lepomis and Micropterus spp.) at protected sites. Secondarily, zooplankton densities, water clarity, and land-use characteristics were related to fish community structure. Rank correlation analyses and Mantel tests indicated that the spatial consistency and predictability of fish communities was high as larval fishes sampled during spring were concordant with juvenile and adult fishes sampled at the same sites during summer and fall in terms of abundance, richness, and community structure. We propose that the high predictability and spatial consistency of littoral-zone fishes in Lake Texoma was a function of relatively simple communities (dominated by 1-2 species) that were structured by factors, such as site exposure to winds and waves, that varied little through time. ?? Springer 2005.
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Predictability of littoral-zone fish communities through ontogeny in Lake Texoma, Oklahoma-Texas, USA