Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 297–309 | Cite as

Spatial ecology and habitat use of two-spined blackfish Gadopsis bispinosus in an upland reservoir

  • Ben T. BroadhurstEmail author
  • Mark Lintermans
  • Jason D. Thiem
  • Brendan C. Ebner
  • Daniel W. Wright
  • Rhian C. Clear


The scale and patterns of movement and habitat use are primary considerations in the conservation and management of threatened species. Movement, activity and habitat use of the threatened two-spined blackfish Gadopsis bispinosus were assessed in a small upland reservoir in south-eastern Australia using manual and remote radio-telemetry. Movements and activity of two-spined blackfish (n = 19) were studied over a 28-day period and exhibited proportionately large directional crepuscular movement and activity with heightened activity continuing throughout the night (although movement was subdued). Two daily movement strategies were observed: movements from diurnal home-shelter habitats (predominantly rock) to macrophytes at night (14 individuals), and occupation of macrophytes during the entire diel period and restricted movement (five individuals). Daily movement strategies were fixed (not plastic) among all individuals, with one exception, for the duration of the study period. Rock, fallen timber and macrophytes were the most commonly used daytime shelter habitat (in order of preference). Although some information exists on movements and habitat use of this species and the congeneric river blackfish G. Marmoratus in lotic environments, we present the first study of movements and habitat use for either species in lentic environments. Given the occupation of lentic environments by this threatened species, the data presented in this study provide insight into the habitat requirements for this species, and offer opportunities for habitat enhancement in existing reservoirs within the species’ geographic range.


Home range Diel activity Nocturnal Habitat use Radio-telemetry 



This project was funded by ACTEW Corporation as part of the fish management program for the Enlarged Cotter Dam. Many thanks to the late emeritus professor Richard Norris who established the fish team that produced this manuscript, and provided comments on an earlier draft. Manuscript was improved by comments from John Koehn, John Harris and two anonymous reviewers. Thank you to staff at Parks, Conservation and Lands (particularly Darren Roso and Bob Burdick) for use of the ‘Bendora Hilton’ and the ‘SS Bendora’ during the study. Thanks to Andrew Wakefield for helping set up the telemetry array. Wayne Robinson, Bernd Gruber and Rebecca Darbyshire provided vital statistical assistance, and Tim Kaminskas assisted with generation of maps. Thank you to Koral Hunt and Mark Jekabsons for assistance with data management. This project was conducted with ethics approval (Committee for Ethics in Animal Experimentation CEAE 08-03). This study was undertaken in Ngunnawal Country.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben T. Broadhurst
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Lintermans
    • 1
  • Jason D. Thiem
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brendan C. Ebner
    • 3
    • 4
  • Daniel W. Wright
    • 1
  • Rhian C. Clear
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Applied EcologyUniversity of CanberraBruceAustralia
  2. 2.Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Australian Rivers InstituteGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  4. 4.Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences and TropWATERJames Cook UniversityAthertonAustralia

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