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Swimming performance traits of twenty-one Australian fish species: a fish passage management tool for use in modified freshwater systems


Watson, JR and Goodrich, HR and Cramp, RL and Gordos, MA and Yan, Y and Ward, PJ and Franklin, CE, Swimming performance traits of twenty-one Australian fish species: a fish passage management tool for use in modified freshwater systems, bioRxiv pp. 1-32. ISSN 2692-8205 (2019) [Non Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1101/861898


Freshwater ecosystems have been severely fragmented by artificial in-stream structures designed to manage water for human use. Significant efforts have been made to reconnect freshwater systems for fish movement, through the design and installation of dedicated fish passage structures (fishways) and by incorporating fish-sensitive design features into conventional infrastructure (e.g. culverts). Key to the success of these structures is making sure that the water velocities within them do not exceed the swimming capacities of the local fish species. Swimming performance data is scarce for Australian fish, which have a reduced swimming capacity when compared to many North American and European species. To help close this knowledge gap and assist fisheries management and civil engineering, we report the swimming performance capacities of twenty-one small-bodied fish and juveniles (< 10 cm) of large bodied species native to Australia as measured by critical swimming speed (Ucrit) and burst swimming speed (Usprint) in a recirculating flume. This data is complemented by endurance swim trials in a 12-meter hydraulic flume channel, and by measures of flume traverse success. Building on the utility of this dataset, we used a panel of morphological, behavioural and ecological traits to first assess their relative contributions to the observed swimming performance data, and second, to determine if they could be used to predict swimming performance capacity a useful tool to assist in the management of species of conservation concern where access to swimming performance data may be limited. We found that body length combined with depth station (benthic, pelagic or surface) explained most of the interspecific variation in observed swimming performance data, followed by body shape and tail shape. These three traits were the most effective at predicting swimming performance in a model/unknown fish. This data will assist civil engineers and fisheries managers in Australia to mitigate the impact of in-stream structures on local fish populations.

Item Details

Item Type:Non Refereed Article
Keywords:fish passage, murray darling basin, fish movement, performance
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Freshwater ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Goodrich, HR (Dr Harriet Goodrich)
ID Code:152128
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2022-08-11
Last Modified:2022-08-25

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