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Movements associated with home-range establishment by two species of lowland river fish

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Individuals that occupy restricted home ranges for long periods have little chance to sample surrounding habitats and may only be able to respond to changes in the distribution of resources at very local scales. Processes leading to the selection of a home range, therefore, potentially have an important bearing on individual fitness and, ultimately, on population structure. In this study, movements associated with the establishment of home ranges by golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in an Australian lowland river were examined using radiotelemetry. To examine behaviour associated with exploration and settlement into new home ranges, fish were artificially translocated into an unfamiliar river section. Although there was substantial intraspecific variation in patterns of movement, all fish tracked over the entire study period eventually settled into restricted home ranges. Several fish of both species either moved away from established home ranges and settled in new areas, or undertook large-scale movements and subsequently returned to the original home range. It is suggested that such movements may provide a mechanism by which fish can reap the benefits of home-range occupation whilst still being able to respond to changes in the distributions of spatially and temporally dynamic resources.

Les individus qui occupent des aires vitales restreintes durant de longues périodes ont peu d'occasions d'évaluer les habitats environnants et ils sont peut-être réduits à réagir aux changements de répartition des ressources à des échelles très locales. Les mécanismes qui mènent à la sélection d'une aire vitale ont donc potentiellement une forte influence sur le fitness individuel et, en fin de compte, sur la structure de la population. La radiotélémétrie a servi à étudier les déplacements associés à l'établissement de l'aire vitale chez la perche dorée (Macquaria ambigua) et la carpe (Cyprinus carpio) dans une rivière de plaine d'Australie. Le déplacement artificiel de poissons vers une section non familière de rivière a permis de suivre les comportements reliés à l'exploration et à l'établissement dans une nouvelle aire vitale. Bien qu'il y ait une importante variation intraspécifique des patterns de déplacement, tous les poissons suivis pendant toute la période d'étude se sont éventuellement établis dans des aires vitales restreintes. Plusieurs poissons des deux espèces ont quitté des aires vitales établies et se sont installés dans de nouveaux milieux; d'autres ont entrepris de longs déplacements pour revenir ensuite dans leur aire vitale d'origine. Il apparaît donc que de tels déplacements fournissent un mécanisme qui permet aux poissons de tirer les bénéfices de l'occupation d'une aire vitale, tout en étant capables de réagir aux changements de répartition de ressources qui varient de façon dynamique dans l'espace et le temps.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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