Recruitment, growth and residence time of fishes in a tropical Australian mangrove system

Robertson, Alistar I., and Duke, Norman C. (1990) Recruitment, growth and residence time of fishes in a tropical Australian mangrove system. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 31 (5). pp. 723-743.

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Twenty fish species accounted for > 96% of the catch by numbers in mangrove habitats in Alligator Creek, in tropical Queensland, Australia. The timing of recruitment, residency status, the period of residence and growth of fish during the time they spent in the mangrove habitat was assessed by examining gonad maturity and following changes in size-frequency plots for each species over 13 months. Five species were permanent residents, completing their life-cycles in mangrove swamps; eight were ‘long-term’ temporary residents, being present for ~ 1 year as juveniles before moving to other near-shore habitats; and seven were ‘short-term’ residents or sporadic users of the mangrove habitat. Amongst the latter group, four species lived in the mangrove habitat for between 1 and 4 consecutive months, while three engraulid species appeared to move rapidly, and often, between mangrove and other near-shore habitats. One of the resident species spawned and recruited throughout the year, but recruitment for most species was highly seasonal, being concentrated in the late dry season (October) to mid wet season (February) period. Temporary resident species dominated the fish community in the wet season (December–April), but resident species comprised more than 90% of total fish numbers in the mid dry season (August) after temporary residents left the mangroves in the early dry season. Several species had more than one peak of recruitment during the wet season. The cohort of 0 + aged Leiognathus equulus which recruited in December grew more rapidly and remained in the mangroves for a shorter period than the cohort which recruited later in the wet season (February). Only nine of the 20 species examined are strictly dependent on mangrove-lined estuaries, the remaining 11 are captured in significant numbers in other near-shore habitats. Only four of the 20 species are of direct commercial importance in Australia, but most are major prey for several valuable, commercial species harvested both within mangrove habitats and in adjacent shallow shelf habitats.

Item ID: 48890
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: mangroves; habitat; fauna; fish; GBR; north Queensland; Australia; IWP; juvenile fish; recruitment; residency; estuarine dependence; tropical
Funders: Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)
Date Deposited: 10 May 2017 03:36
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
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