Ichthyoplankton assemblages of the Karaburun-Ildır Bay Special Environmental Protection Area, central Aegean Sea, Türkiye

Ichthyoplankton assemblages of the Karaburun-Ildır Bay Special Environmental Protection Area, central Aegean Sea, Türkiye

Sinan Mavruk, Gürkan Akbulut, Ali Egemen Demircan,  Haluk Yılmaz, Onur Gönülal 

ORCID IDs: S.M. 0000-0003-1958-0634; G.A. 0000-0002-9593-154X; A.E.D. 0009-0004-0846-8289; H.Y. 0009-0007-4295-6894; O.G. 0000-0002-1621-0892

Department of Marine Biology, Fisheries Faculty, Çukurova University, 01330, Balcalı/Adana, TÜRKİYE
Faculty of Aquatic Sciences, Istanbul University, Onaltı Mart Şehitleri Cad. No: 2, 34134 Vezneciler, Fatih/Istanbul, TÜRKİYE


Designating marine protected areas is widely acknowledged as a highly effective strategy for marine conservation and resource management. In 2019, the Karaburun-Ildır Bay area (the eastern central Aegean Sea, Türkiye) was declared as a Special Environmental Protection Area (SEPA) by the Republic of Türkiye, Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change. In this study, we investigated the ichthyoplankton biodiversity of the Karaburun-Ildır Bay SEPA and its potential as a spawning and nursery ground for marine teleost fishes. Ichthyoplankton samples were collected from ten locations in May 2022, September 2022, and August 2023. Early life stages from 62 species representing 26 families were recorded in the area. A total of 6818 eggs of 28 species and 844 larvae of 50 species were sampled during the study. The early life stages of sparids and mullids were dominant in May while the eggs and larvae of small pelagic fish, especially those of Engraulis encrasicolus and Sardinella aurita, were dominant in August and September. Early life stages of only three non-native fish, Bregmaceros nectabanus, Upeneus moluccensis and Mullidae sp.L1 were found in the study. Our findings indicate that the Karaburun-Ildır Bay SEPA has an important potential for conservation of many commercial fish species as a spawning and nursery area.

Keywords: Biodiversity, fish larva, fish egg, Marine Protected Area

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