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Larval fish assemblages along the south-eastern Australian shelf: linking mesoscale non-depth-discriminate structure and water masses


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Keane, JP and Neira, FJ 2008 , 'Larval fish assemblages along the south-eastern Australian shelf: linking mesoscale non-depth-discriminate structure and water masses' , Fisheries Oceanography, vol. 17, no. 4 , pp. 263-280 , doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2008.00478.x.

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We present findings of the first mesoscale study linking
larval fish assemblages and water masses along shelf
waters off south-eastern Australia (southern Queensland-
New South Wales), based on vertical, non-depth
discriminate data from surveys in October 2002 and
2003 (spring) and July 2004 (winter). Clustering and
ordination were employed to discriminate between
larval assemblages and, for the first time, to define
water masses from water column temperature frequencies.
Surveys yielded 18 128 larval fishes comprising
143 taxa from 96 identifiable families, with
small pelagics accounting for 53% of the total. Three
major recurrent larval assemblages were identified
during the study, each of which matched one of three
water masses, namely East Australian Current to the
north (EAC; 20.5–23.4C), Tasman Sea to the south
(TAS; 14.8–17.5C), and mixed EAC–TAS water in
between (MIX; 18.3–19.9C). All three assemblages
were present in spring, whereas only EAC and MIX
occurred in the more northerly constrained winter
survey. Furthermore, boundaries between the EAC,
MIX and TAS assemblages were found to be dynamic,
with locations shifting temporally and spatially
depending on EAC extent. Assemblage composition
differed significantly between water masses across
surveys, with EAC–TAS being most dissimilar. Such
contrast was due to the presence of tropical ⁄temperate
taxa in EAC, primarily temperate-associated taxa in
TAS, and a combination of EAC–TAS taxa within
MIX consistent with the convergence of both waters.
Results highlight the strength of employing larval
assemblages as indicators of water masses, particularly
in view of the potential effect of climate change on
spawning habitats of shelf fishes.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Keane, JP and Neira, FJ
Keywords: East Australian Current, faunal transition, larval fish assemblages, multivariate analyses, pelagic shelf ecosystem, Tasman Sea, Trachurus
Journal or Publication Title: Fisheries Oceanography
ISSN: 1054-6006
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1365-2419.2008.00478.x
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