Early post-settlement habitat and diet shifts and the nursery function of tidepools during sillago spp. recruitment in Moreton Bay, Australia

Kruck, N. C., Chargulaf, C. A., Saint-Paul, U. and Tibbetts, I. R. (2009) Early post-settlement habitat and diet shifts and the nursery function of tidepools during sillago spp. recruitment in Moreton Bay, Australia. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, 384 207-219. doi:10.3354/meps07992


Author Kruck, N. C.
Chargulaf, C. A.
Saint-Paul, U.
Tibbetts, I. R.
Title Early post-settlement habitat and diet shifts and the nursery function of tidepools during sillago spp. recruitment in Moreton Bay, Australia
Formatted title
Early post-settlement habitat and diet shifts and the nursery function of tidepools during sillago spp. recruitment in Moreton Bay, Australia
Journal name Marine Ecology-Progress Series   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0171-8630
1616-1599
Publication date 2009-05-29
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3354/meps07992
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 384
Start page 207
End page 219
Total pages 13
Editor Otte Kinne
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publisher Inter-research
Language eng
Abstract Knowledge of settlement and recruitment processes is crucial for the conservation and sustainable management of commercial fish stocks, yet for some species such information is limited. We investigated the length-frequency distribution and feeding activity of 0-group Sillago whiting on mudflats in Moreton Bay, Australia, and evaluated whether permanent intertidal residence is (1) an integral component of recruitment and (2) related to the suitability of temporary microhabitats (tide-pools) as primary nursery refuges. A total of 399 whiting, comprising the 3 commercially and/or recreationally important species S. analis, S. ciliata and S. maculata, were collected from intertidal pools and adjacent subtidal waters during low tide. Newly settled metamorphic larvae dominated whiting assemblages in tidepools (>80%) and fed almost exclusively on meiofaunal copepods and nematodes. It was only once metamorphosis was complete that new settlers joined the main juvenile population-i.e. they commenced tidal migrations, or they took up permanent residence in subtidal seagrass beds (>90% juveniles), and shifted their diet towards macrofaunal decapods and polychaetes. During the critical first weeks after settlement, occupation of intertidal pools seemed likely to increase fitness of whiting. Specifically, the pools may provide shelter from predation, temperature-induced increases in growth and temporally extended access to intertidal meiofauna. The latter, however, appeared to vary depending on whether copepods or nematodes were the preferred prey, and whether occupied pools were isolated or interconnected. Resource and conservation managers should consider largely structureless mud- and sandflats as primary nursery zones for Sillago populations throughout their range in the Indo-Pacific.
Formatted abstract
Knowledge of settlement and recruitment processes is crucial for the conservation and sustainable management of commercial fish stocks, yet for some species such information is limited. We investigated the length-frequency distribution and feeding activity of 0-group Sillago whiting on mudflats in Moreton Bay, Australia, and evaluated whether permanent intertidal residence is (1) an integral component of recruitment and (2) related to the suitability of temporary microhabitats (tide-pools) as primary nursery refuges. A total of 399 whiting, comprising the 3 commercially and/or recreationally important species S. analis, S. ciliata and S. maculata, were collected from intertidal pools and adjacent subtidal waters during low tide. Newly settled metamorphic larvae dominated whiting assemblages in tidepools (>80%) and fed almost exclusively on meiofaunal copepods and nematodes. It was only once metamorphosis was complete that new settlers joined the main juvenile population-i.e. they commenced tidal migrations, or they took up permanent residence in subtidal seagrass beds (>90% juveniles), and shifted their diet towards macrofaunal decapods and polychaetes. During the critical first weeks after settlement, occupation of intertidal pools seemed likely to increase fitness of whiting. Specifically, the pools may provide shelter from predation, temperature-induced increases in growth and temporally extended access to intertidal meiofauna. The latter, however, appeared to vary depending on whether copepods or nematodes were the preferred prey, and whether occupied pools were isolated or interconnected. Resource and conservation managers should consider largely structureless mud- and sandflats as primary nursery zones for Sillago populations throughout their range in the Indo-Pacific.
Keyword Whiting
coral reef fish
PLEURONECTES-PLATESSA POPULATION
EFFECTIVE JUVENILE HABITATS
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Ecology Centre Publications
Centre for Marine Studies Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 17:55:31 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Centre for Marine Studies