Variation with depth in temperate seagrass-associated fish assemblages in Southern Victoria, Australia

Hutchinson, Neil, Jenkins, Gregory P., Brown, Andrew, and Smith, Timothy M. (2014) Variation with depth in temperate seagrass-associated fish assemblages in Southern Victoria, Australia. Estuaries and Coasts, 37 (4). pp. 801-814.

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Abstract

Variability in the abundance and distribution of seagrass-associated fish assemblages was examined at different depths in a temperate bay in southern Australia. Depth differences in seagrass-associated fish assemblages are poorly known but this information is critical given that seagrass loss can occur at specific depths depending on the cause. Overall, 69 species of fish from 26 families were recorded, with higher species richness in shallow than deep beds, with 12 species found only in deep beds and 22 species found only in shallow beds. While the total fish abundance (i.e. abundance of all species recorded) varied between years and seasons, and to some extent between sites, it was significantly higher in shallow than deep seagrass beds in the majority of cases. Although there was some variation between sites, seagrass tended to be longer and have a higher biomass in shallow than deep beds during both spring and autumn throughout the study. A positive relationship between seagrass biomass/length and total fish abundance/species richness was apparent. Assemblage structure tended to be distinct at each depth, with the largest species recorded in shallow seagrass. Large numbers of small schooling fish, such as atherinids, dominated in shallow seagrass but were not found in deep seagrass. Loss of seagrass could therefore have varying implications for distinct assemblages found at different depths.

Item ID: 30220
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: seagrass habitats, Zostera nigricaulis, Port Phillip Bay, nursery
ISSN: 1559-2731
Funders: Fisheries Victoria, Port of Melbourne Corporation
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2013 03:57
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 60%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 10%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830299 Fisheries- Wild Caught not elsewhere classified @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
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