Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 98, Issue 6, pp 1491–1500 | Cite as

Effect of salinity on growth of juvenile Yarra pygmy perch (Nannoperca obscura: Percichthyidae)

  • Hillary C. Mahon
  • Michael P. Hammer
  • James O. Harris


The threatened Yarra pygmy perch (Nannoperca obscura) is an obligate freshwater fish endemic to the south-eastern coast of mainland Australia, where a majority of river systems have been heavily modified since European settlement. The purpose of this garden study was to explore any relationship between the growth rate of juvenile N. obscura with respect to salinity. Trials were conducted encompassing perceived and potential ranges within the species’ environment, through five salinity treatments and recorded growth after 8 weeks. Two brood-groups were trialed simultaneously to observe any intrapopulation variance in phenotypic response potentially linked to genetic variance. The salinity trials found a clear model indicating increasing growth for moderate salinities (i.e. 2.5–7.5 ppt), therefore identifying the ideal salinity range for N. obscura juveniles. Phenotypic response between brood-groups was varied and inconsistent, potentially reflecting low genetic variability. With a limited genetic variance restricting adaptability, tolerance to a changing environment would be reduced. Therefore increased salinization and subsequent flushing events within habitats may be key threats to the species’ survival.


Nannoperca obscura Pygmy perch Salinity Growth Freshwater fish 



Funding for this study was provided by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (LP100200409 to Beheregaray, Harris and Adams) in collaboration with the South Australian Museum, South Australia’s Departments of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, the Primary Industries and Resources South Australia, Native Fish Australia SA (Inc.) and the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board. The authors thank the following; S Westergaard, and J Buss for their assistance with measurement recording, J Forwood and S Davies for assistance with statistical analysis and presentation, M Sasaki and C Brauer for genetic data, C Bice (SARDI Aquatic Sciences) for advice on study design, the Flinders University Animal House staff and technicians including L Morrison, J Voyer, K Wooning, J Mair and C Lane for their support in system maintenance and data recording, and S Mahon, E Mahon, L Chenoweth and G Gully for their assistance in the reviewing process which improved this paper. This work was done with the approval of the Flinders University Animal Welfare Committee, permit no. E313.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hillary C. Mahon
    • 1
  • Michael P. Hammer
    • 2
  • James O. Harris
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern TerritoryDarwinAustralia

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