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Recruitment and growth of two small-bodied resident fish species (Gobiidae and Atherinidae) in oligohaline, seasonally open lagoons

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Spatio-temporal recruitment patterns, growth and survival of the Swan River goby Pseudogobius olorum and western hardyhead Leptatherina wallacei are described from two small, coastal lagoons on the south coast of Western Australia. In these lagoons, estuarine salinity dynamics were relatively stable over much of the autumn–spring period when freshwater inputs from rivers were reduced and there was no oceanic connection. Preflexion and flexion stages of both fish species contributed strongly to population size structure in downstream reaches, whereas upstream reaches were dominated by postflexion larvae and juvenile stages. Spawning of both species was protracted and largely asynchronous, although the episodic presence of stronger preflexion and flexion cohorts suggested some synchronized spawning had occurred. Comparison with estuarine conditions over this period provided evidence that synchronized spawning may be related to temperature and salinity variations from a combination of freshwater inputs and periods of marine exchange. Uninterrupted growth and the progression of cohorts through to juvenile stages were consistent with the generally stable estuarine conditions. Larval and juvenile stages of both species were also tolerant of abrupt changes in salinity and temperature, which occurred due to a non-seasonal oceanic connection. These findings were consistent with the euryhaline nature of adults of both species.
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Keywords: Leptatherina; Pseudogobius; growth and survival; length-frequency analysis; modal progression analysis; recruitment

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 5771, Albany, Western Australia 6330, Australia 2: Swan River Trust, P.O. Box 6740, East Perth, Western Australia, 6892, Australia

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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