Fish assemblages in habitats dominated by Caulerpa taxifolia and native seagrasses in south-eastern Australia

York, P.H., Booth, D.J., Glasby, T.M., and Pease, B.C. (2006) Fish assemblages in habitats dominated by Caulerpa taxifolia and native seagrasses in south-eastern Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 312. pp. 223-234.

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Abstract

Seagrass beds in estuaries are important habitats and nursery grounds for a great variety of fishes, including many economically important species. The introduction of the invasive green alga Caulerpa taxifolia could potentially threaten the seagrasses of south-eastern Australia. This study examined the implications of the spread of C. taxifolia on ichthyofauna in 2 estuaries in central New South Wales. Fish assemblages were compared among adjacent habitats of C. taxifolia and 2 seagrass species (Posidonia australis and Zostera capricorni). Fish were sampled using a small beam trawl to test for differences among habitats in (1) the species composition of the fish assemblages, (2)total abundance and species richness of fishes, and (3) abundances of major fish families. Fish assemblages separated into 3 significantly distinct groupings based on habitat. Total abundances of fishes were similar among habitats; however, species richness was lower in C. taxifolia. The fish assemblages in C. taxifolia were largely characterised by high abundances of gobiid fishes, similar to those in Z. capricorni, and few or no syngnathid and monacanthid species when compared to seagrass fish assemblages. This suggests that if C. taxifolia competitively replaces native seagrass beds in the estuaries of New South Wales, the resulting change in habitat may also cause a change in fish assemblages. This could reduce the abundances of some protected and economically important fish species but may also increase abundances of other opportunistic fishes.

Item ID: 33238
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: Caulerpa taxifolia, fish assemblages, seagrass, south-eastern Australia
Additional Information:

Copyright © Inter-Research 2006 www.int-res.com

Funders: University of Technology, Sydney, NSW Fisheries Scientific Committee
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2015 03:24
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050103 Invasive Species Ecology @ 40%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830201 Fisheries Recreational @ 30%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
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