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Home range, site fidelity and synchronous migrations of three co-occurring, morphologically distinct estuarine fish species

Tracey, SR ORCID: 0000-0002-6735-5899, Hartmann, K ORCID: 0000-0002-2039-8867, McAllister, J and Lyle, JM ORCID: 0000-0001-9670-5854 2020 , 'Home range, site fidelity and synchronous migrations of three co-occurring, morphologically distinct estuarine fish species' , Science of The Total Environment, vol. 713 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136629.

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Determining the movement behaviours of animals is essential for understanding population dynamics. This is fundamental for developing effective spatial management strategies and in assessing the response of species to anthropogenic disturbance. This study uses a Bayesian state-space model applied to acoustic transmitter data to describe the temporal and spatial movement patterns of three estuarine fish species commonly targeted by recreational anglers in southeast Australia: Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri), Sand Flathead (Platycephalus bassensis), and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta). Despite morphological differences between the three species, several common traits were observed in their movement and behaviour. Of the 50 individuals across all three species that were tracked, the vast majority remained within the estuary where they were tagged for the duration of the study. While the home ranges of the three species differed in size, all individuals remained resident around the mid-estuary where the majority of fish were tagged were released. Each of the species also displayed seasonal migrations, presumably linked to spawning. The timing of the beginning of these migrations was well synchronised both within and among species, starting in late spring/early summer. This suggests that environmental factors such as water temperature and day length may play an important role in cueing spawning behaviour for each of the species. These migratory behaviours suggest adverse changes to estuarine conditions such as reduced river flows may have potential consequences for spawning success for some species and hence implications for fisheries management.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tracey, SR and Hartmann, K and McAllister, J and Lyle, JM
Keywords: acoustic telemetry, recreational fishing, Acanthopagrus butcheri, Platycephalus bassensis, Salmo trutta, Bayesian state-space model
Journal or Publication Title: Science of The Total Environment
Publisher: Elsevier Science Bv
ISSN: 0048-9697
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136629
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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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