Response of a seagrass fish assemblage to improved wastewater treatment
We compared the structure of a seagrass fish assemblage near a sewage outlet before and after improvements to wastewater treatment. To determine whether responses by the fish assemblage were due to changes in water quality or to other factors, comparisons were made with the structure of a fish assemblage from a nearby site unaffected by sewage effluent. Total species richness, density and biomass of fish, decreased at both sites over the 30-year period. An increase in mean trophic level near the sewage outlet following improvements in water quality indicated that wastewater treatment had another important effect. This result is consistent with the reductions in food webs supporting pelagic and benthic fishes that typically accompany decreases in nutrient inputs. Although improvements to wastewater treatment explained much of the variation in the structure of the fish assemblage at PC, our results also suggest that fishing and climate change, at both sites.