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Mangrove habitats as nurseries: unique assemblages of juvenile fish in subtropical mangroves in eastern Australia


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Laegdsgaard, P and Johnson, CR 1995 , 'Mangrove habitats as nurseries: unique assemblages of juvenile fish in subtropical mangroves in eastern Australia' , Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 126, no. 1-3 , pp. 67-81 .

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A total of 53 species of juvenile fish were caught over a 2 yr study period in 2 mangrove
lined estuaries in Moreton Bay, eastern subtropical Australia. Comparing juvenile fish communities
among mangrove forests, seagrass beds and mudflats identified significant differences in species rich-
ness and abundances of juveniles. Seagrass communities comprised distinct species of resident and
nonresident fish species of little economic importance. Mangrove forests and mudflats had many
shared species (but mangrove forests were dominated by smaller or younger juveniles in greater abun-
dances; Laegdsgaard unpubl. data). Mudflat habitats appear to be transition zones between juvenile
and adult habitats. Only 4 species were exclusive to seagrass whereas 27 species were exclusive to the
mangrove/mudflat habitat. Juveniles of 7 of the 10 commercially harvested fish species in Moreton Bay
were found in greatest numbers in mangrove forests. Salinity, temperature and turbidity were similar
in all habitats so could not account for differences in habitat choice of juvenlle fish. Most juvenile fish
in mangroves during summer were nonresidents and species richness and abundance were highest in
summer and lowest in winter There were significant differences among sites and years in the numbers
of species and individuals; however, the trends were similar and demonstrated clearly that mangrove
sites within Moreton Bay play a more important role and have greater potential as nursery habitats
than do adjacent habitats. Preferential selection of mangrove habitats by juvenile fish, particularly
commercial specles, indicates a need for conservation.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Laegdsgaard, P and Johnson, CR
Keywords: Mangrove; Seagrass; Mudflat; Nursery habitat; Juvenile fish - Community structure
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Ecology Progress Series
ISSN: 0171-8630
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