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Southernmost records of two Seriola species in an Australian ocean-warming hotspot


Changes in marine species distributions in response to climate warming are being observed globally. However, there is great variation in the magnitude and rate of species responses. South-eastern Australia represents a global hotspot for ocean warming and, subsequently, numerous poleward extensions in marine species distributions are evident within the region. We report on two species of Carangid not previously found in this region, recorded through photo-verified observations by citizen scientists. This includes the first record of Amberjack (Seriola dumerili) in eastern Tasmania and an extension of the previously most southern reported observation of a similarly mobile congener, the Yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) along south-eastern Tasmania. Out-of-range observations may simply represent vagrant individuals; however, there is also evidence that they are often indicators of future colonisation potential. Moreover, the observations presented here are potentially representative of a range of climate-driven changes to marine biodiversity in this region and highlight the utility of community observations in acting as an effective early-warning system for reporting changes in the marine environment. Early detection and reporting of distributional changes are important for proactive environmental management, and is enhanced by establishing an informed community and mechanisms for conveying these observations to science and management authorities.

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Redmap citizen scientists are vital to the reporting of marine species sightings around the country (see, so, foremost, we would like to acknowledge their valuable contributions. We would also like to acknowledge the verification scientists who also volunteer their time, including Rick Stuart-Smith in this instance. This project is supported by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania; Museum Victoria; Inspiring Australia; and the Australian National Data Service. Thanks also go to support staff, including Yvette Barry and Elsa Gärtner. Redmap obtained the expressed permission for releasing exact GPS coordinates for the Seriola dumerili sighting by Ron Walker and Simon Turner. GP is supported by an ARC Future Fellowship (FT140100596).

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Correspondence to Jemina Stuart-Smith.

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Communicated by R. Thiel

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Stuart-Smith, J., Pecl, G., Pender, A. et al. Southernmost records of two Seriola species in an Australian ocean-warming hotspot. Mar Biodiv 48, 1579–1582 (2018).

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  • Range extension
  • Ocean warming
  • Spatial shift
  • Tasmania
  • South-east Australia
  • East Australian Current