Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 73-84

First online:

Timing of Recruitment Events, Residence Periods and Post-Settlement Growth of Juvenile Fish in a Seagrass Nursery Area, South-Eastern Australia

  • Kimberley A. SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Fisheries, Western Australia
  • , Matteo SinerchiaAffiliated withCentre for Marine and Coastal Studies, University of New South Wales

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We sampled juvenile fish approximately fortnightly using a fine mesh beach seine net to determine the recruitment patterns of Sillago ciliata, Centropogon australis and Girella tricuspidata to seagrass, Zostera capricorni, habitats in Botany Bay, south-eastern Australia. We used trends in the length frequency distributions of juveniles to estimate the timing of recruitment events, rates of post-settlement growth and the residence time of each species in seagrass. We detected discrete pulses of recruitment by each species. The timing of recruitment events by S. ciliata reflected the timing of spawning events. Recruitment by G. tricuspidata reflected lunar or tidal cycles. The factors influencing the timing of recruitment by C. australis were unclear. The growth rate of S. ciliata length cohorts varied and was positively related to estuarine water temperature. The timing of emigration from seagrass of C. australis and G. tricuspidata juveniles appeared to be length-dependant.

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