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Spatial and seasonal differences in the fish fauna in the shallows of a large Australian estuary

Loneragan, N.R., Potter, I.C., Lenanton, R.C.J. and Caputi, N. (1986) Spatial and seasonal differences in the fish fauna in the shallows of a large Australian estuary. Marine Biology, 92 (4). pp. 575-586.

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Samples of fish were collected by beach seine throughout the shallow waters of the large Peel-Harvey estuarine system (south-western Australia) in the wet (June to November) and dry periods (December to May) between August 1979 and July 1981. The number of species, density and biomass declined with distance from the estuary mouth and rose with increasing temperature and salinity. Both classification and ordination distinguished the faunal composition of the saline reaches of the rivers from that of the narrow Entrance Channel and two large basins (Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary). Classification also separated the fauna of the riverine group into wet- and dry-period components, and divided samples taken in the Entrance Channel from those in the basins. Differences between the faunal composition of the Peel Inlet and its tributary rivers were related to differences in salinity regime. The riverine fauna was subjected to much more variable and lower minimum salinities. Species characteristic of the rivers included teleosts such as Atherinosoma wallacei and Amniataba caudavittatus, which are estuarine sensu stricto in southwestern Australia, the semi-anadromous Nematalosa vlaminghi and juveniles of the marine Mugil cephalus. The species diagnostic of the wet periods in the rivers were the estuarine species A. wallacei and Favonigobius suppositus, while the dry periods were characterised by the marine species Atherinomorus ogilbyi and Sillago schomburgkii. Marine species also characterised the Entrance Channel (Favonigobius lateralis, Sillago bassensis), whereas the indicators in Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary were Hyporhamphus regularis and Apogon rueppellii, both of which can pass through the whole of their life cycle in estuarine as well as marine environments.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Publisher: Springer Verlag
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