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Vulnerability of the endangered Maugean Skate population to degraded environmental conditions in Macquarie Harbour


Moreno, D and Lyle, J and Semmens, J and Morash, A and Stehfest, K and McAllister, J and Bowen, B and Barrett, N, Vulnerability of the endangered Maugean Skate population to degraded environmental conditions in Macquarie Harbour, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Hobart, Tasmania, 2016-068 (2020) [Contract Report]

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Maugean Skate (Zearaja maugeana) are only known from two isolated estuarine systems located on the west coast of Tasmania, representing one of most restricted distributions of any elasmobranch. There is, however, uncertainty about the continued persistence of the species in one of these estuaries (Bathurst Harbour), suggesting that Macquarie Harbour may now represent the sole remaining habitat for the species. The species is listed as Endangered under the Threatened Species Protection Act (Tas) and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Comm) and, apart from protected status, is without a recovery plan or management strategy.

The physicochemical conditions in Macquarie Harbour have changed markedly since European settlement, influenced by anthropogenic activities in and around the estuary (e.g. mining, forestry, hydro-electricity generation, and marine farming operations) as well as the more general effects of climate change. Of recent concern, has been a marked decline in dissolved oxygen (DO) conditions in Macquarie Harbour which are likely to have a significant impact on many resident species, including the Maugean Skate. In the absence of population dispersal or mixing outside of Macquarie Harbour, any longer-term changes to DO conditions in the harbour are likely to result in changes to ecological assemblages inhabiting this unique estuarine system. The current study describes the vulnerability of the Maugean Skate, across all its life history stages, to a range of environmental stressors. The ability to monitor population status and population responses of the Maugean Skate to any changes in environmental conditions will be critical in assessing the need for further conservation management action.

Item Details

Item Type:Contract Report
Keywords:Maugean skate, eco-physiology, behaviour, egg development
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:Coastal and estuarine systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Moreno, D (Mr David Moreno)
UTAS Author:Lyle, J (Associate Professor Jeremy Lyle)
UTAS Author:Semmens, J (Professor Jayson Semmens)
UTAS Author:Morash, A (Dr Andrea Morash)
UTAS Author:Stehfest, K (Dr Kilian Stehfest)
UTAS Author:McAllister, J (Dr Jaime McAllister)
UTAS Author:Barrett, N (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
ID Code:141296
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2020-10-13
Last Modified:2020-10-13

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