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, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 801-814, doi: 10.1007/s12237-013-9742-9.

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Title Variation with depth in temperate seagrass-associated fish assemblages in Southern Victoria, Australia
Author(s) Hutchinson, Neil
Jenkins, Gregory P.
Brown, Andrew
Smith, Timothy M.ORCID iD for Smith, Timothy M.
Journal name Estuaries and coasts
Volume number 37
Issue number 4
Start page 801
End page 814
Total pages 14
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2014-07
ISSN 1559-2731
Keyword(s) Nursery
Port Phillip Bay
Seagrass habitats
Zostera nigricaulis
Summary 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.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s12237-013-9742-9
Field of Research 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
050102 Ecosystem Function
050206 Environmental Monitoring
Socio Economic Objective 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Springer
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