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The influence of habitat association on swimming performance in marine teleost fish larvae


Downie, AT and Leis, JM and Cowman, PF and McCormick, MI and Rummer, JL, The influence of habitat association on swimming performance in marine teleost fish larvae, Fish and Fisheries, 22, (6) pp. 1187-1212. ISSN 1467-2960 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1111/faf.12580


Latitude and body size are generally considered key drivers of swimming performance for larval marine fishes, but evidence suggests that evolutionary relationships and habitat may also be important. We used a comparative phylogenetic framework, data synthesis and case study approach to investigate how swimming performance differs among larvae of fish species across latitude. First, we investigated how swimming performance changed with body length, and we found that temperate reef fishes have the greatest increases in swimming performance with length. Secondly, we compared differences in three swimming performance metrics (critical swimming speed, in situ swimming, and endurance) among post-flexion larvae, whilst considering phylogenetic relationships and morphology, and we found that reef fishes have higher swimming capacity than non-reef (pelagic and non-reef demersal) fishes, which is likely due to larger, more robust body sizes. Thirdly, we compared swimming performance of late-stage larvae of tropical fishes with oceanographic data to better understand the ecological relevance of their high-capacity swimming. We found that reef fishes have high swimming performance and grow larger than non-reef fish larvae, which we suggest is due to the pressures to find a specific, patchily distributed habitat upon which to settle. Given the current bias towards studies on percomorph fishes at low latitudes, we highlight that there is a need for more research on temperate reef fish larvae and other percomorph lineages from high latitudes. Overall, our findings provide valuable context to understand how swimming and morphological traits that are important for dispersal and recruitment processes are selected for among teleost fish larvae.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:larval biology, dispersal, population connectivity, fisheries, early life history, fish evolution, fish exercise physiology, ontogeny, phylogenetic comparative methods, recruitment strategies
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Leis, JM (Dr Jeff Leis)
ID Code:144956
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2021-06-23
Last Modified:2021-11-23

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