Conservation biology of the Spanish toothcarp (Aphanius iberus): mechanisms of coexistence with eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)

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Inland waters are amongst the most diverse and impacted ecosystems globally, and they host many endangered taxa. Cyprinodontiforms are at the forefront of endangered freshwater fishes in Europe, with more than 80% of the species of this taxon considered threatened by the IUCN. The Aphaniidae, belonging to that order, are mostly distributed in the Mediterranean coastal areas, where ecosystems face many environmental pressures. This thesis consists of three main studies: (i) an analysis of the drivers and predictors of population extirpations of the Spanish toothcarp, Aphanius iberus; (ii) an adaptation and performance assessment of an underwater stereo-video system (also referred to as SVS) for studying the ecology of the fish assemblages of coastal lagoons, with emphasis on the endemic Spanish toothcarp and the invasive mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki); and (iii) a study, using the new SVS system, of diel and seasonal microhabitat partitioning between the endangered toothcarp and the invasive mosquitofish in relation to variation in limnological features. ​
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