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The influence of habitat association on swimming performance in marine teleost fish larvae

Downie, AT, Leis, JM ORCID: 0000-0003-0603-3447, Cowman, PF, McCormick, MI and Rummer, JL 2021 , 'The influence of habitat association on swimming performance in marine teleost fish larvae' , Fish and Fisheries , pp. 1-26 , doi: 10.1111/faf.12580.

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Latitude and body size are generally considered key drivers of swimming performance for larval marine fishes, but evidence suggests that evolutionary relationships and habitat may also be important. We used a comparative phylogenetic framework, data synthesis and case study approach to investigate how swimming performance differs among larvae of fish species across latitude. First, we investigated how swimming performance changed with body length, and we found that temperate reef fishes have the greatest increases in swimming performance with length. Secondly, we compared differences in three swimming performance metrics (critical swimming speed, in situ swimming, and endurance) among post-flexion larvae, whilst considering phylogenetic relationships and morphology, and we found that reef fishes have higher swimming capacity than non-reef (pelagic and non-reef demersal) fishes, which is likely due to larger, more robust body sizes. Thirdly, we compared swimming performance of late-stage larvae of tropical fishes with oceanographic data to better understand the ecological relevance of their high-capacity swimming. We found that reef fishes have high swimming performance and grow larger than non-reef fish larvae, which we suggest is due to the pressures to find a specific, patchily distributed habitat upon which to settle. Given the current bias towards studies on percomorph fishes at low latitudes, we highlight that there is a need for more research on temperate reef fish larvae and other percomorph lineages from high latitudes. Overall, our findings provide valuable context to understand how swimming and morphological traits that are important for dispersal and recruitment processes are selected for among teleost fish larvae.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Downie, AT and Leis, JM and Cowman, PF and McCormick, MI and Rummer, JL
Keywords: larval biology, dispersal, population connectivity, fisheries, early life history, fish evolution, fish exercise physiology, ontogeny, phylogenetic comparative methods, recruitment strategies
Journal or Publication Title: Fish and Fisheries
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN: 1467-2960
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/faf.12580
Copyright Information:

© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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