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Patterns of fish movement on eastern Tasmanian rocky reefs

Edgar, GJ, Barrett, NS and Morton, AJ 2004 , 'Patterns of fish movement on eastern Tasmanian rocky reefs' , Environmental Biology of Fishes, vol. 70, no. 3 , pp. 273-284 , doi:

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We assessed small-scale movement patterns of fishes on three eastern Tasmanian reefs by divers visually resighting
1 040 individuals of 16 species marked with unique colour-coded tags.With the possible exception of the monacanthid
Acanthaluteres vittiger, common species showed high fidelity to site, with individuals generally resighted
<100m from the initial tagging site and remaining near the tagging site throughout the 1 year duration of study.
The wrasses Pictilabrus laticlavius and Notolabrus tetricus were more sedentary than Notolabrus fucicola and the
monacanthids Meuschenia australis and Meuschenia freycineti. Body length, sex, water temperature and time since
tagging had little influence on distance moved compared to variation between individuals, other than movement
distance increasing with body length for N. tetricus. Movement patterns were generally consistent at all three sites,
although mean distance moved by N. fucicola was double at Swanport and Return Point compared to Lobster Point.
N. tetricus but not P. laticlavius emigrated from areas artificially cleared of macroalgae. The sedentary nature of
most small- to medium-sized reef fish species, particularly labrids, indicates that relatively small (≈1 km diameter)
marine protected areas should generally provide conservation benefits for these fishes but few ‘spillover’ benefits
in surrounding areas.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Edgar, GJ and Barrett, NS and Morton, AJ
Journal or Publication Title: Environmental Biology of Fishes
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