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Microhabitat distribution of juvenile Penaeus merguiensis de Man and other epibenthic crustaceans within a mangrove forest in subtropical Australia

Meager, J.J., Vance, D.J., Williamson, I. and Loneragan, N.R. (2003) Microhabitat distribution of juvenile Penaeus merguiensis de Man and other epibenthic crustaceans within a mangrove forest in subtropical Australia. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 294 (2). pp. 127-144.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0022-0981(03)00241-7
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Abstract

The distribution of juvenile Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) merguiensis de Man and other epibenthic crustaceans in different microhabitats within a riverine mangrove forest was examined in subtropical eastern Australia. Catches in vegetated and cleared microhabitats were compared at sites located in mangroves on the creek edge (1-2 m into the forest) and the inner forest (a further 14-22 m into the forest). Crustaceans were sampled using 3 x 3 m lift nets that were activated at the top of spring flood tides between March and May 2000. The abundance of P. merguiensis in the adjacent creek was also monitored during both high and low tides using a small beam trawl. A large size range of P. merguiensis was caught in the mangrove forest (2-13.5 mm carapace length) and the maximum density recorded was 1 prawn m-2. Catches of P. merguiensis were significantly higher at the creek edge than at the inner forest sites. Catches did not differ significantly between vegetated and cleared microhabitats, but catches were highly variable within microhabitats. This result was attributed to the very high activity levels of P. merguiensis and suggests that detecting differences between microhabitats used by prawns in the field would require a large number of samples. Substantial numbers of Acetes sibogae australis (Hansen), Macrobrachium novaehollandiae (de Man) and Metapenaeus bennettae (Racek and Dall) also entered the forest and catches of these species followed a similar pattern to those for P. merguiensis, i.e. catches were higher at the creek edge than the inner forest, did not differ between microhabitats and were highly variable within a microhabitat.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2003 Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/11582
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