Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The influence of rainfall on the distribution and abundance of the school prawn Metapenaeus macleayi in the Hunter River region (Australia)

  • 130 Accesses

  • 53 Citations

Abstract

The effects of rainfall on the distribution and abundance of Metapenaeus macleayi in the Hunter River region (Australia) were examined as part of a study of the prawn fishery and biology in this region. A marked increase in the freshwater flow into the estuary of the Hunter River enhances the seasonal seaward movement of prawns and produces an initial increase in the abundance of adults in the adjacent oceanic waters; it is suggested that the disturbance to the estuarine sediments and to the prawns' normal burrowing and respiratory activity, as a result of the increased river flow, is responsible for this pronounced emigration. This initial increase in adult abundance enhances the prawns' reproductive potential, and the heavy rainfall indirectly assists the recruitment of young to the cotuary and their growth and survival, and thereby increases prawn abundance in the following year also. Prolonged dry weather adversely affects the prawns, and usually results in a smaller population. The annual fluctuations and absence of a downward trend in the catch statistics indicate that this stock has not been overfished.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Literature Cited

  1. Aleem, A. A.: Effect of river outflow management on marine life. Mar. Biol. 15, 200–208 (1972).

  2. Copeland, B. J.: Effects of decreased river flow on estuarine ecology. J. Wat. Pollut. Control Fed. 38, 1831–1839 (1966).

  3. Dall, W.: Hypo-osmoregulation in Crustacea. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 21, 653–678 (1967).

  4. Gunter, G. and J. C. Edwards: The relation of rainfall and freshwater drainage to the production of the penaeid shrimps (Penaeus fluviatilis Say and Penaeus aztecus Ives) in Texas and Louisiana waters. F.A.O. Fish. Rep. 57 (Vol. 3), 875–892 (1969).

  5. Hildebrand, H. H. and G. Gunter: Correlation of rainfall with the Texas catch of white shrimp, Penaeus setiferus (Linnaeus). Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 82, 151–155 (1953).

  6. Hughes, D. A.: On the mechanisms underlying tide-associated movements of Penaeus duorarum Burkenroad. F.A.O. Fish. Rep. 57 (Vol. 3), 867–874 (1969a).

  7. —: Responses to salinity change as a tidal transport mechanism of pink shrimp, Penaeus duorarum. Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 136, 43–53 (1969b).

  8. Kriek, P. N.: Report on silt tracing tests in Newcastle Harbour, August and September, 1964. Monogr. Hunter Valley Res. Fdn 23, 1–51 (1966).

  9. New South Wales Department of Public Works: Newcastle harbour siltation investigation. Harbours and Rivers Branch. Rep. Dep. publ. Wks N.S.W. 114, 1–178 (1969).

  10. Odum, W. E.: Insidious alteration of the estuarine environment. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 99, 836–847 (1970).

  11. Panikkar, N. K. and R. Viswanathan: Active regulation of chloride in Metapenaeus monoceros Fabricius. Nature, Lond. 161, 137–138 (1948).

  12. Racek, A. A.: Penaeid prawn fisheries of Australia with special reference to New South Wales. Proc. Indo-Pacif. Fish. Coun. 6, 347–358 (1956).

  13. —: Prawn investigations in eastern Australia. Res. Bull. St. Fish. N.S.W. 6, 1–57 (1959).

  14. Ruello, N. V.: Prawn tagging experiments in New South Wales. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 94, 277–287 (1970).

  15. Ruello, N. V.: Some aspects of the ecology of the school prawn Metapenaeus macleayi in the Hunter region of New South Wales, 145 pp. Master of Science thesis, University of Sydney: 1971.

  16. —: Burrowing, feeding, and spatial distribution of the school prawn Metapenaeus macleayi (Haswell) in the Hunter River region (Australia). J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 13, 187–204 (1973).

  17. Subrahmanyam, M.: Fluctuations in prawn landings in the Godavari estuarine system. Proc. Indo-Pacif. Fish Coun. 11, 44–51 (1966).

  18. Thomson, J. M.: Fluctuations in Australian prawn catch. Proc. Indo-Pacif. Fish. Coun. 6, 444–447 (1956).

  19. Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission: Water resources of the lower Hunter Valley. Rep. Wat. Conserv. Irrig. Commn N.S.W. 4, 1–173 (1966).

  20. —: Water resources of the upper Hunter Valley. Rep. Wat. Conserv. Irrig. Commn N.S.W. 15, 1–172 (1969).

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Communicated by G. F. Humphrey, Sydney

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ruello, N.V. The influence of rainfall on the distribution and abundance of the school prawn Metapenaeus macleayi in the Hunter River region (Australia). Mar. Biol. 23, 221–228 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00389488

Download citation

Keywords

  • Small Population
  • Heavy Rainfall
  • River Flow
  • Downward Trend
  • Initial Increase