Drifting objects as habitat for pelagic juvenile fish off New South Wales, Australia

Dempster, Tim, and Kingsford, Michael J. (2004) Drifting objects as habitat for pelagic juvenile fish off New South Wales, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 55 (7). pp. 675-687.

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The importance of drifting objects to small juvenile pelagic fish was investigated off the coast of New South Wales, Australia. Distance-related and temporal patterns in the distribution of clumps of drifting algae were investigated with 5000 m2 transects at five distances from shore (0.1, 0.5, 1, 5 and 10 km), two to three times per season for 2 years. Juvenile fish associated with drift algae were collected. Clumps of algae, predominantly Sargassum spp., were most abundant in spring, which coincided with the highest abundance of alga-associated post-flexion juvenile fish. Drift algae were also most abundant close to shore, probably due to the proximity to source and the dominant onshore winds. Fish were quickly attracted to drifting artificial objects (fish aggregation device; FADs), although the magnitude of attraction varied greatly among days. The relative abundance of small fish in open waters available to colonise FADs and differing weather conditions may explain much of this variability. More fish colonised FADs with an odour source than unscented control FADs, indicating small fish may use chemical cues to locate drifting structures. We conclude that juvenile fish actively seek drifting objects as pre-settlement habitat, which may reduce predation and enhance settlement opportunities.

Item ID: 3463
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Keywords: drift algae; fish aggregation devices (FAD); juvenile fish; Phyllospora; Sargassum; Trachurus
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2009 01:52
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969902 Marine Oceanic Processes (excl. Climate Related) @ 100%
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