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Relationships between fish and benthic macroinvertebrate faunas and habitat types in Broke Inlet, Western Australia

Tweedley, J.ORCID: 0000-0002-2749-1060, Valesini, F., Hoeksema, S. and Potter, I. (2011) Relationships between fish and benthic macroinvertebrate faunas and habitat types in Broke Inlet, Western Australia. In: 48th Annual Conference of the Australian Marine Science Association, 3 - 7 July, Fremantle, Western Australia.

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Critical to the understanding of estuarine ecosystems is a rigorous classification of their habitats and an assessment of the extent to which the distribution of key faunal assemblages are related to those habitats. This study relates a fully quantitative abiotic classification of the nearshore habitats within Broke Inlet, a ‘near pristine’ seasonally-open estuary in south-western Australia, to the fish and benthic macroinvertebrate communities present at those habitat types in each season for two years and one year, respectively. The eleven habitat types, which differed in their suite of enduring abiotic variables, including those reflecting the vicinity of marine and freshwater sources, exposure to wave activity and substratum type, were found to contain significantly different fish faunas in seven of the eight seasons sampled. Furthermore, the pattern of relative differences among habitat types, as exhibited by the ichthyofauna, statistically matched that among the suite of enduring abiotic variables used to distinguish those habitats in almost all seasons. However, while the benthic macroinvertebrate faunal composition differed among habitats in all four seasons, those differences were only significantly correlated with those among the abiotic characteristics of habitat types in one of those seasons. These results therefore demonstrate that the enduring abiotic classification scheme produced for Broke Inlet provides a sound basis for predicting the ichthyofauna, but not the benthic macroinvertebrate fauna, likely to be found at any location within the estuary.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
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