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Food availability is not a limiting factor in the growth of three Australian temperate reef fishes


Barrett, NS, Food availability is not a limiting factor in the growth of three Australian temperate reef fishes, Environmental Biology of Fishes, 56, (4) pp. 419-428. ISSN 0378-1909 (1999) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1023/A:1007584408795


An assumption often made but rarely tested is that post-recruitment stocks of temperate reef fishes are rarely resource limited, particularly for resources influencing growth. This has been particularly attributed to significant interranual variation in recruitment strength such that in most years stocks are not structured by intra-specific competition for resources. This assumption was tested for three temperate Australian species, the labrids Notolabrus fucicola and N. tetricus, and the monacanthid Penicipelta vittiger, by comparing growth rates from 4 to 5 randomly selected, isolated locations sharing similar habitats in south eastern Tasmania. If food resources were limiting, growth should have differed between locations depending on the ratio of population density to available food resources at each location. In comparisons of the length at age relationships between locations by ANOVA, no significant differences were detected, either in growth curve elevation or shape. These results indicate that growth is similar between locations, both spatially and temporally, and suggest growth is unlikely to be limited by density-dependent factors. Growth rates were also compared between two regions subject to differing environmental conditions. One region was influenced by river discharge waters, the other by oceanic waters. Growth differences were detected between the regions for N. fucicola and N. tetricus but not P. vittiger. The growth differences were related to either early juvenile growth rates or differing timing of recruitment between regions. For most species of temperate fishes, environmental conditions may influence growth to a greater extent than variations in food availability, presumably because local population sizes are usually below the level at which competition for food becomes important.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Barrett, NS (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
ID Code:34461
Year Published:1999
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:TAFI - Marine Research Laboratory
Deposited On:2005-07-27
Last Modified:2011-10-03

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