Biodiversity of forage fishes in the Lower Laguna Madre, southernmost Texas


  • David Camarillo Jr. Ocean, Coastal Environmental and Ecological Assessment Lab., School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), One West University Blvd., 78520 - Brownsville, USA
  • Elizabeth Mogus Garcia Ocean, Coastal Environmental and Ecological Assessment Lab., School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), One West University Blvd., 78520 - Brownsville, USA
  • Carlos E. Cintra-Buenrostro Ocean, Coastal Environmental and Ecological Assessment Lab., School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), One West University Blvd., 78520 - Brownsville, USA



Fishing gear, estuaries, coastal fishes, baitfish, nursery habitat


Coastal estuarine ecosystems serve as nursery habitats for many commercially and recreationally important fishes. Biodiversity is a structural indicator and has been used as a metric for conservation and management. In the hypersaline Lower Laguna Madre of Texas, a variety of organisms makes their living in and around the dominant seagrass vegetation. This study provides a general assessment of forage fishes biodiversity collected seasonally with bag seines in two sites: Holly Beach (HB) and South Bay (SB) within the most southern Texas bay system as part of a broader study on fish biology. A total of 15,880 fishes representing 32 species were collected during four quarterly samplings through a year (11,795 from HB and 4,085 from SB). Both sites are interconnected as no fishes similarities difference were found, nonetheless, the sites’ variable characteristics (i.e. basin area, seagrasses coverage, connection to the Gulf of Mexico) resulted in significant greater species richness, relative abundances, and diversity in HB than SB for most of the year, suggesting differences in habitat quality or at the very least variation in the availability of habitat types, which are known to contribute to differences in fish diversity attributes.


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Author Biographies

Elizabeth Mogus Garcia, Ocean, Coastal Environmental and Ecological Assessment Lab., School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), One West University Blvd., 78520 - Brownsville, USA

Carlos E. Cintra-Buenrostro, Ocean, Coastal Environmental and Ecological Assessment Lab., School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), One West University Blvd., 78520 - Brownsville, USA


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How to Cite

Camarillo Jr., D., Mogus Garcia, E. and Cintra-Buenrostro, C. E. (2023) “Biodiversity of forage fishes in the Lower Laguna Madre, southernmost Texas”, Marine and Fishery Sciences (MAFIS), 36(2), pp. 149–163. doi: 10.47193/mafis.3622023010508.