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Factors influencing the timing and frequency of spawning and fecundity of the goldlined seabream (Rhabdosargus sarba) (Sparidae) in the lower reaches of an estuary

Hesp, S.A., Potter, I.C. and Schubert, S.R.M. (2004) Factors influencing the timing and frequency of spawning and fecundity of the goldlined seabream (Rhabdosargus sarba) (Sparidae) in the lower reaches of an estuary. Fishery Bulletin, 102 (4). pp. 648-660.

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We have studied the reproductive biology of the goldlined seabream (Rhabdosargus sarba) in the lower Swan River Estuary in Western Australia, focusing particularly on elucidating the factors influencing the duration, timing, and frequency of spawning and on determining potential annual fecundity. Our results demonstrate that 1) Rhabdosargus sarba has indeterminate fecundity, 2) oocyte hydration commences soon after dusk (ca. 18:30 h) and is complete by ca. 01:30-04:30 h and 3) fish with ovaries containing migratory nucleus oocytes, hydrated oocytes, or postovulatory follicles were caught between July and November. However, in July and August, their prevalence was low, whereas that of fish with ovaries containing substantial numbers of atretic yolk granule oocytes was high. Thus, spawning activity did not start to peak until September (early spring), when salinities were rising markedly from their winter minima. The prevalence of spawning was positively correlated with tidal height and was greatest on days when the tide changed from flood to ebb at ca. 06:00 h, i.e., just after spawning had ceased. Because our estimate of the average daily prevalence of spawning by females during the spawning season (July to November) was 36.5%, individual females were estimated to spawn, on average, at intervals of about 2.7 days and thus about 45 times during that period. Therefore, because female R. sarba with total lengths of 180, 220, and 260 mm were estimated to have batch fecundities of about 4500, 7700, and 12,400 eggs, respectively, they had potential annual fecundities of about 204,300, 346,100 and 557,500 eggs, respectively. Because spawning occurs just prior to strong ebb tides, the eggs of R. sarba are likely to be transported out of the estuary into coastal waters where salinities remain at ca. 35‰. Such down-stream transport would account for the fact that, although R. sarba exhibits substantial spawning activity in the lower Swan River Estuary, few of its early juveniles are recruited into the nearshore shallow waters of this estuary.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: US National Marine Fisheries Services
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