Spatial and temporal variation in fish assemblage structure of Koycegiz Lagoon-Estuarine System (KLES), located on the northwestern Turkish coast of Mediterranean, was investigated along an estuarine gradient where salinity ranged from 5 in upper reaches to 40 in lower reaches during October 1993-September 1994. Throughout the study, 42 species, consisting of marine (25), marine-estuarine-dependent (12), freshwater (3), catadromous (1), and estuarine resident (1) forms, were collected in trammel nets. Although species richness of marine species was greater than that of other groups, numerical contribution by marine species to the total catch was only 16%: Tilapia spp., the most abundant species mostly during summer and early spring at upper reaches, contributed 17% of the total samples. Among the seven species of Mugilidae, which contributed 42% of the total catch, Mugil cephalus, Liza aurata, and Liza salines contributed 10, 13, and 10% of the total catch, respectively. Consistent with findings from other studies, species richness and abundance were highest during late spring and summer and the lowest during winter and early spring. Samples from sites at or near the sea had more marine species. Samples from upper reaches had more freshwater and marine-estuarine-dependent species. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) indicated that salinity and turbidity were the most important environmental parameters affecting fishes. Sites near the sea were associated with high salinity and low turbidity, and sites in upper reaches had low salinity and high turbidity. Thus, the pattern observed in fish assemblage structure appears to be strongly influenced by species ' responses to dominant salinity and turbidity gradients. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.