The use of multiple sampling gears is indispensible to obtain robust characterizations of fish assemblage structure in species-rich subtropical ecosystems. In this study, such a dependence was demonstrated by characterizing the structure of the high-tide fish assemblage in a subtropical tidal flat ecosystem (the Araçá Bay, southeastern Brazil) using eight different gears along five seasonal surveys and estimating the bay's fish species richness, combining these data with those from local tide pool fish surveys. The high-tide fish assemblage was spatially structured, contained five threatened species, and was dominated by persistent and large populations of Eucinostomus argenteus and of the fisheries species Mugil curema and Diapterus rhombeus that intensively use the bay throughout their life cycles. Large, small-bodied fish populations supported a regular use of the bay by piscivores. The autumn-winter peak in abundance of juvenile fishes caused a subsequent increase in piscivore abundance, and both events explained the bulk of the seasonal variability of the fish assemblage. The estimated richness revealed that the combination of sampling methods was enough for sampling the bulk of the local richness, and the bay may hold a surprisingly high richness compared to other costal ecosystem of the region. This faunal characterization, only viable using multiple gears, will be critical to support the implementation of a future study to monitor the impacts on local fish biodiversity of an imminent port expansion over the tidal flat.
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