Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 73–84 | Cite as

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

  • Kimberley A. Smith
  • Matteo Sinerchia

Abstract

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.

sand whiting fortescue luderick seasonal 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Armsworth, P. R. 2000. Modeling the swimming response of late stage larval reef fish to different stimuli. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 195: 231–247.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, J. D., J. J. Burchmore & D. A. Pollard. 1978. Feeding ecology of a scorpaenid fish, the fortescue Centropogon australis, from a Posidonia seagrass habitat in New South Wales. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 29: 175–185.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, J. D., D. A. Pollard, J. J. Burchmore, B. C. Pease & M. J. Middleton. 1984. Structure of a fish community in a temperate tidal mangrove creek in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 35: 33–46.Google Scholar
  4. Bell, J. D., M. Westoby & A. S. Steffe. 1987. Fish larvae settling in seagrass: Do they discriminate between beds of different leaf density? J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 111: 133–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boehlert, G. W. & B. C. Mundy. 1998. Roles of behaviour and physical factors in larval and juvenile fish recruitment to estuarine nursery areas. Amer. Fish. Soc. Symp. 3: 51–67.Google Scholar
  6. Bruce B. B. & A. G. Miskiewicz. 1998. Sillaginidae: Whitings, sand smelts. pp. 294–305. In: F. J. Neira, A. G. Miskiewicz & T. Trnski (ed. ) Larvae of Temperate Australian Fishes, University of Western Australia Press, Perth.Google Scholar
  7. Burchmore J. J., D. A. Pollard, M. J. Middleton, J. D. Bell & B. C. Pease. 1988. Biology of four species of whiting (Pisces: Sillaginidae) in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 39: 709–727.Google Scholar
  8. Cleland, K. W. 1947. Studies on the economic biology of sand whiting (Sillago ciliata, C. and V. ). Proc. Linn. Soc. NewSouth Wales 72: 215–228.Google Scholar
  9. Doherty, P. & A. Fowler. 1994. An empirical test of recruitment limitation in a coral reef fish. Science 263: 935–939.Google Scholar
  10. Dredge, M. 1976. Aspects of the Ecology of Three Estuarine Dwelling Fish in S. E. Queensland. M. Sc. Thesis, University of Queensland. 122 pp.Google Scholar
  11. Ferrell D. J., S. E. McNeill, D. G. Worthington & J. D. Bell. 1993. Temporal and spatial variation in the abundance of fish asso-ciated with the seagrass Posidonia australis in south-eastern Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 44: 881–899.Google Scholar
  12. Forward, R. B., R. A. Tankersley & K. A. Reinsel. 1998. Selective tidal stream transport of spot (Leistomus xanthurus Lacepede) and pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides Linneaus) larvae: Contribu-tion of circatidal rhythms in activity. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 226: 19–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gillanders, B. M. 1997. Patterns of abundance and size structure in the blue groper, Achoerodus viridis (Pisces, Labridae): Evidence of links between estuaries and coastal reefs. Environ. Biol. Fish. 49: 153–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gray, C. A. 1996. Intrusions of surface sewage plumes into conti-nental shelf waters: Interactions with larval and presettlement juvenile fishes. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 139: 31–45.Google Scholar
  15. Gray, C. A, D. J. McElligot & R. C. Chick. 1996. Intra-and inter-annual differences in assemblages of fish associated with shallowseagrass and bare sand. Mar. Freshw. Res. 47: 723–735.Google Scholar
  16. Gray, C. A., B. C. Pease, S. L. Stringfellow, L. P. Raines, B. K. Rankin & T. R. Walford. 2000. Sampling estuarine fish species for stock assessment. NSW Fisheries Final Report Series No 18. New South Wales Fisheries, Sydney. 194 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Hannan, J. & R. J. Williams. 1998. Recruitment of juvenile marine fishes to seagrass habitat in a temperate Australian estuary. Estuaries 21: 29–51.Google Scholar
  18. Hyndes, G. A., I. C. Potter & S. A. Hesp. 1996. Relationships between the movements, growth, age structures, and repro-ductive biology of the teleosts Sillago burrus and S. vittata in temperate marine waters. Mar. Biol. 126: 549–558.Google Scholar
  19. Jenkins, G. P. & H. A. May. 1994. Variation in settlement and larval duration of King George whiting, Silliginoides punctata (Sillaginidae), in Swan Bay, Victoria, Australia. Bull. Mar. Sci. 54: 281–296.Google Scholar
  20. Jenkins, G. P., K. P. Black, M. J. Wheatley & D. N. Hatton. 1997. Temporal and spatial variability in recruitment of a temperate seagrass-associated fish is largely determined by physical processes in the pre-and post-settlement phases. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 148: 23–35.Google Scholar
  21. Kailola, P. J., M. J. Williams, P. C. Stewart, R. E. Reichelt, A. McNeeC. Grieve (ed. ) 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources, Bureau of Resource Sciences, Canberra. 442Google Scholar
  22. Kingsford, M. J. & I. M. Suthers. 1996. The influence of tidal phase on patterns of ichthyoplankton abundance in the vicinity of an estuarine front, Botany Bay, Australia. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 43: 33–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leggett, W. C. & E. Deblois. 1994. Recruitment in marine fishes: Is it regulated by starvation and predation in the egg and larval stages? Neth. J. Sea Res. 32: 119–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McDonald, P. D. M. & T. J. Pitcher. 1979. Age groups from size-frequency data: A versatile and efficient method of analysing distribution mixtures. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 36: 987–1001.Google Scholar
  25. McNeill, S. E., D. G. Worthington, D. J. Ferrell & J. D. Bell. 1992. Consistently outstanding recruitment of five species of fish to a seagrass bed in Botany Bay, NSW. Aust. J. Ecol. 17: 359–365.Google Scholar
  26. Middleton, M. J., J. D. Bell, J. J. Burchmore, D. A. Pollard & B. C. Pease. 1984. Structural differences in the fish commu-nities of Zostera capricorni and Posidonia australis seagrass meadows in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Aquat. Bot. 18: 89–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miskiewicz, A. G. 1986. The season and length at entry into a temperate Australian estuary of the larvae of Acanthopagrus australis, Rhabdosargus sarba and Chrysophrys auratus (Teleostei: Sparidae). pp. 740–747. In: T. Uyeno, T. Taniuchi & K. Matsuura (ed. ) Proceedings of the second international Conference on Indo-Pacific fishes, Ichthyological Society of Japan, Tokyo.Google Scholar
  28. Miskiewicz, A. G. 1987. Taxonomy and Ecology of Fish Larvae in Lake Macquarie and New South Wales Coastal Waters, Ph. D.Thesis. University of New South Wales. Sydney. 191 pp.Google Scholar
  29. Miskiewicz, A. G & T. Trnski. 1998. Girellidae: Blackfishes, luderick. pp. 232–235. In: F. J. Neira, A. G. Miskiewicz & T. Trnski (ed. ) Larvae of Temperate Australian Fishes. University of Western Australia Press, Perth.Google Scholar
  30. Morton, R. M. 1985. The reproductive biology of summer whiting, Sillago ciliata C. and V., in northern Moreton Bay, Queensland. Australian Zoology 21: 491–502.Google Scholar
  31. Neira, F. J. & D. M. Furlani. 1998. Scorpaenidae: Scorpionfishes. pp. 140–149. In: F. J. Neira, A. G. Miskiewicz & T. Trnski (ed. ) Larvae of Temperate Australian Fishes, University of Western Australia Press, Perth.Google Scholar
  32. Pollock, B. R., H. Weng & R. M. Morton. 1983. The seasonal occurrence of postlarval stages of yellowfin bream, Acanthopagrus australis (Gunther), and some factors affecting their movement into an estuary. J. Fish Biol. 22: 409–415.Google Scholar
  33. Robertson, D. R., D. G. Green & B. C. Victor. 1988. Temporal coupling of production and recruitment of larvae of a Caribbean reef fish. Ecology 69: 370–381.Google Scholar
  34. Rotherham, D. & R. J. West. 2002. Do different seagrass species support distinct fish communities in south-eastern Australia? Fish. Manage. Ecol. 9: 235–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Smith, K. A. 1999. Larval Fish Distributions and Recruitment Patterns in the Sydney Region, with Emphasis on the Role of Physical Environmental Factors, Ph. D. Thesis. University of New South Wales, Sydney. 144 pp.Google Scholar
  36. Smith, K. A. & I. M. Suthers. 2000. Consistent timing of juvenile fish recruitment to seagrass beds within two Sydney estuaries. Mar. Freshw. Res. 51: 765–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. SPCC/State Pollution Control Commission. 1979. Tidal water movement in Botany Bay. Environmental Control Study of Botany Bay, Report BBS13. Sydney. 40 pp.Google Scholar
  38. SPCC/State Pollution Control Commission. 1981. The ecology of fish in Botany Bay-Biology of commercially and recreationally valuable species. Environmental Control Study of Botany Bay, Report BBS23. Sydney. 78 pp.Google Scholar
  39. Steele, M. A. & G. E. Forrester. 2002. Early post-settlement predation on three reef fishes: Effects on spatial patterns of recruitment. Ecology 83: 1076–1091.Google Scholar
  40. Sullivan, M. C., R. K. Cowen, K. W. Able & M. P. Fahay. 2000. Spatial scaling of recruitment in four continental shelf fishes. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 207: 141–154.Google Scholar
  41. Thresher, R. E. 1991. Recruitment variability in Australian temperate rocky reef fishes in the blennioid genus Heteroclinus (Clindae). pp. 94–96. In: D. Hancock (ed. ) Proceedings of the 16th Australian Society of Fish Biology Workshop, Hobart.Google Scholar
  42. Trnski, T. 2001. Diel and tidal abundance of fish larvae in a barrier-estuary channel in New South Wales. Mar. Freshw. Res. 52: 995–1006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tolimieri, N., P. F. Sale, R. S. Nemeth & K. B. Gestring.1998. Replenishment of populations of Caribbean reef fishes: Are spatial patterns of recruitment consistent through time? J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 230: 55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Warburton, K. & S. J. M. Blaber. 1992. Patterns of recruitment and resource use in a shallow-water fish assemblage in Morton Bay, Queensland. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 90: 113–126.Google Scholar
  45. Worthington, D. G., D. J. Ferrell, S. E. McNeill & J. D. Bell. 1992. Growth of four species of juvenile fish associated with the sea-grass Zostera capricorni in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 43: 1189–1198.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberley A. Smith
    • 1
  • Matteo Sinerchia
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of FisheriesWestern AustraliaNorth BeachAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Marine and Coastal StudiesUniversity of New South WalesAustralia

Personalised recommendations