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Long-term patterns in estuarine fish growth across two climatically divergent regions


Doubleday, ZA and Izzo, C and Haddy, JA and Lyle, JM and Ye, Q and Gillanders, BM, Long-term patterns in estuarine fish growth across two climatically divergent regions, Oecologia, 179, (4) pp. 1079-1090. ISSN 0029-8549 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

© 2015 Springer-Verlag This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Oecologia. The final authenticated version is available online at:

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00442-015-3411-6


Long-term ecological datasets are vital for investigating how species respond to changes in their environment, yet there is a critical lack of such datasets from aquatic systems. We developed otolith growth ‘chronologies’ to reconstruct the growth history of a temperate estuarine fish species, black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri). Chronologies represented two regions in south-east Australia: South Australia, characterised by a relatively warm, dry climate, and Tasmania, characterised by a relatively cool, wet climate. Using a mixed modelling approach, we related inter-annual growth variation to air temperature, rainfall, freshwater inflow (South Australia only), and El Niño–Southern Oscillation events. Otolith chronologies provided a continuous record of growth over a 13- and 21-year period for fish from South Australia and Tasmania, respectively. Even though fish from Tasmania were sourced across multiple estuaries, they showed higher levels of growth synchronicity across years, and greater year-to-year growth variation, than fish from South Australia, which were sourced from a single, large estuary. Growth in Tasmanian fish declined markedly over the time period studied and was negatively correlated to temperature. In contrast, growth in South Australian fish was positively correlated to both temperature and rainfall. The stark contrast between the two regions suggests that Tasmanian black bream populations are more responsive to regional scale environmental variation and may be more vulnerable to global warming. This study highlights the importance of examining species response to climate change at the intra-specific level and further validates the emerging use of growth chronologies for generating long-term ecological data in aquatic systems.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fish growth, otolith, biochronologies
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Fisheries - aquaculture not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Haddy, JA (Dr James Haddy)
UTAS Author:Lyle, JM (Associate Professor Jeremy Lyle)
ID Code:102280
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:27
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2015-08-10
Last Modified:2018-11-28
Downloads:25 View Download Statistics

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