Shallow-water refuge paradigm: conflicting evidence from tethering experiments in a tropical estuary

Baker, Ron, and Sheaves, Marcus (2007) Shallow-water refuge paradigm: conflicting evidence from tethering experiments in a tropical estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 349. pp. 13-22.

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The shallow-water refuge paradigm has been globally applied to help explain the high abundances of juvenile fishes that utilise shallow-water estuarine nursery habitats. Despite the wide application and acceptance of the paradigm, there is little direct evidence to indicate that small juvenile fishes benefit from reduced predation pressure in shallow water habitats relative to adjacent deeper waters. The present study employed chronographic tethering experiments to examine patterns in predation potential across a depth gradient (0.2 to 3 m) in the lower reaches of a tropical estuary in northeastern Queensland, Australia. Over 6 mo, 17 replicate experimental trials were conducted, deploying a total of 183 tethered fish prey. Despite the clear and consistent patterns found in the few previous studies elsewhere in the world, there was no significant effect of depth on predation pressure, and thus no evidence of lower predation pressure in the shallow relative to the adjacent deeper estuarine waters examined in the present study. The findings suggest that the shallow-water refuge paradigm may be too simplistic for diverse and complex tropical estuarine nursery grounds.

Item ID: 2620
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: nursery; tropical estuary; predation; refuge paradigm
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Source: BibEntry# 15895.

Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2009 23:54
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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