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Decadal decline in demersal fish biomass coincident with a prolonged drought and the introduction of an exotic starfish

Parry, G.D. and Hirst, A.J. 2016, Decadal decline in demersal fish biomass coincident with a prolonged drought and the introduction of an exotic starfish, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 544, pp. 37-52, doi: 10.3354/meps11577.

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Title Decadal decline in demersal fish biomass coincident with a prolonged drought and the introduction of an exotic starfish
Author(s) Parry, G.D.
Hirst, A.J.
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 544
Start page 37
End page 52
Total pages 16
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 2016-02-18
ISSN 0171-8630
1616-1599
Keyword(s) nutrient
drought
Asterias
exotic species
trawl time-series
Port Phillip Bay
Summary Between 1990 and 2011, Port Phillip Bay in southern Australia experienced 2 major ecological disturbances: a prolonged drought from 1997 to 2010, and the introduction of the invasive starfish, Asterias amurensis. The drought reduced land-based nitrogen inputs by 64%, and the biomass of A. amurensis in the deep centre of the bay peaked at 56% of the resident fish biomass in 2000. The impacts of these disturbances on fish were assessed using a demersal trawl time-series spanning 2 decades (1990 to 2011). The timing and spatial extent of changes to fish biomass were analysed using ANCOVA and change point analysis. During the drought, fish biomass declined by 69% in the deep centre of the bay, by 50% at intermediate depths, and showed no significant change around the shallow fringes. This spatial pattern is consistent with hydrodynamic modelling, which suggests that during the drought a greater proportion of the (lower) nitrogen input was retained near the coastal fringe. Most of the decline in fish biomass was attributed to the cumulative effects of reduced productivity during the 12 yr drought. However, declines in 3 species in the deep region were attributed to competition with A. amurensis. Each of these species exhibited high dietary overlap with A. amurensis and displayed sharp declines in biomass coinciding with the peak abundance of A. amurensis in 2000.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/meps11577
Field of Research 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
0602 Ecology
0608 Zoology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Inter-Research
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30083428

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