Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Trophic relationships between itinerant fish and crab larvae in a temperate Australian saltmarsh

Debashish Mazumder A D , Neil Saintilan B and Robert J. Williams C

A Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, PMB 1, Menai, NSW 2234, Australia.

B River and Wetlands Unit, Department of Environment and Conservation, PO Box A 290, Sydney South, NSW 1232, Australia.

C Department of Primary Industry, Cronulla Fisheries Centre, 202 Nicholson Pde, Cronulla, NSW 2230, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: debashish.mazumder@ansto.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 57(2) 193-199 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF05040
Submitted: 5 March 2005  Accepted: 16 January 2006   Published: 23 February 2006

Abstract

Comparisons of zooplankton inputs and outputs for a temperate Australian saltmarsh demonstrate a substantial contribution of crab larvae to the ebbing tide water, particularly during the cooler months. Few crab larvae were present in the incoming tide (mean abundance 4 m-3), whereas many crab larvae were present in the outgoing water (mean abundance 2124.63 m-3). Stomach content analysis of itinerant fish exiting the saltmarsh with the ebbing tide demonstrated extremely high proportions of crab larvae in the gut of glassfish (Ambassis jacksoniensis), as well as flat tail mullet (Liza argentea) and blue eye (Pseudomugil signifer). The results suggest a direct trophic link between secondary production of saltmarsh and itinerant fish, and a significant ecological role for burrowing crabs occupying saltmarshes in temperate Australia in the trophic food web of saltmarsh–estuarine systems.

Extra keywords: burrowing crabs, estuarine, juvenile fish, Towra Point.


References

Adam P.Wilson N. C.Huntley B.1988The phytosociology of coastal saltmarsh vegetation in New South Wales.Wetlands (Australia)73584

Allen D. M.Johnson W. S.Ogburn-Matthews V.1995Trophic relationships and seasonal utilization of saltmarsh creeks by zooplanktivorous fishes.Environmental Biology of Fishes423750
doi:10.1007/BF00002350

Boesch D. F.Turner R. E.1984Dependency of fishery species on saltmarshes: The role of food and refuge.Estuaries74A460468

Bray J. R.Curtis J. T.1957An ordination of the upland forest communities of southern Wisconsin.Ecological Monographs27325349


Christy J., and Stancyk S. E. (1982). Timing of larval production and flux of invertebrate larvae in well-mixed estuary. In ‘Estuarine Comparisons’. (Ed. V. S. Kennedy.) pp. 505–520. (Academic Press: New York.)

Clark L. D.Hannon N. J.1967The mangrove swamp and saltmarsh communities of the Sydney district. I. Vegetation, soil and climate.Journal of Ecology55753771


Clarke K. R., and Warwick R. M. (2001). ‘Changes in Marine Communities: An Approach to Statistical Analysis and Interpretation.’ 2nd edn. (PRIMER-E: Plymouth, United Kingdom.)

Connolly R. M.Dalton A.Bass D. A.1997Fish use of an inundated saltmarsh flat in a temperate Australian estuary.Australian Journal of Ecology22222226


Crinall S. M.Hindell J. S.2004Assessing the use of saltmarsh flats by fish in a temperate Australian embayment.Estuaries274728739


Crisp D. T.Mann R. H. K.McCormac J. C.1978The effects of impoundment and regulation upon the stomach contents of fish at Cow Green, Upper Teesdale.Journal of Fish Biology12287301


Dewet P. S.Marais J. F. K.1990Stomach content analysis of juvenile Cape stumpnose Rhabdosargus holubi in the Swartkops estuary, South Africa.South African Journal of Marine Science9127133


Dittle A. I.Epifanio C. E.1982Seasonal abundance and vertical distribution of crab larvae in Delaware Bay.Estuaries5197202


Epifanio C. E.Little K. T.Rowe P. M.1988Dispersal and recruitment of fiddler crab larvae in the Delaware River estuary.Marine Ecology Progress Series43181188


Forward R. B.Jr1987Larval release rhythms: an overview.Bulletin of Marine Science41165176


Hollingsworth A., and Connolly R. M. (2005). Feeding by glassfish on a subtropical saltmarsh: higher value than other habitats. In ‘Australasian Saltmarshes 2005, Book of Abstracts’. (Ed. N. Saintilan.) (Australian Catholic University: Sydney.)

Hughes L. (2004). ‘Coastal Saltmarsh in the NSW North Coast, Sydney Basin and South East Corner Bioregions – Proposed Endangered Ecological Community Listing.’ (NSW Scientific Committee, National Parks and Wildlife Service.)

Kneib R. T.Wagner S. L.1994Nekton use of vegetated marsh habitats at different stages of tidal inundation.Marine Ecology Progress Series106227238


Laffaille P.Brosse S.Feunteun E.Baisez A.Lefeuvre J.1998Role of fish. communities in particulate organic matter fluxes between salt marshes and coastal marine waters in the Mont Saint-Michel Bay.Hydrobiologia373/374121133
doi:10.1023/A:1017079823670

Mazumder D. (2004). Contribution of saltmarshes to temperate estuarine fish. Ph.D. Thesis, Australian Catholic University.

Mazumder D.Saintilan N.2003A comparison of sampling techniques in the assessment of burrowing crab abundance in saltmarsh and mangrove in temperate Australia.Wetlands (Australia)211115

Mazumder D.Saintilan N.Williams R.2005Temporal variation in fish catch using pop nets in mangrove and saltmarsh flats at Towra Point, NSW, Australia.Wetlands Ecology and Management13457467
doi:10.1007/S11273-004-0814-2

Minello T. J.Able K.W.Weinstein M. P.Hays C. G.2003Salt marshes as nurseries for nekton: Testing hypotheses on density, growth and survival through meta-analysis.Marine Ecology Progress Series2463959

Morton R. M.Pollock B. R.Beumer J. P.1987The occurrence and diet of fishes in a tidal inlet to a saltmarsh in southern Moreton Bay, Queensland.Australian Journal of Ecology12217237


Nixon S. W. (1980). Between coastal marshes and coastal waters – a review of twenty years of speculation and research on the role of salt marshes in estuarine productivity and water chemistry. In ‘Marine Science, Volume II: Estuarine and wetland process’. (Eds P. Hamilton and K. B. MacDonald.) (Plenum Press: New York.)

Pearcy W. G.Richards S. W.1962Distribution and ecology of fishes of the Mystic River estuary, Connecticut.Ecology43248259


Robertson A. I.Dixon P.Daniel P. A.1988Zooplankton dynamics in mangrove and other near shore habitats in tropical Australia.Marine Ecology Progress Series43139150


Rozas L. P.Hackney C. T.1984Use of oligohaline marshes by fishes and macrofaunal crustaceans in North Carolina.Estuaries7213214


Saintilan N.Williams R.1999Mangrove transgression into saltmarsh environments in New South Wales, Australia.Global Ecology and Biogeography8117124
doi:10.1046/J.1365-2699.1999.00133.X

Sanchez-Jerez P.Gillanders B. M.Kingsford M. J.2002Spatial variation in abundance of prey and diet of trumpeter (Pelates sexlineatus: Teraponidae) associated with Zostesra capricorni seagrass meadows.Austral Ecology27200210doi:10.1046/J.1442-9993.2002.01171.X

Sandifer P. A. (1975). The role of pelagic larvae in recruitment to populations of adult decapod crustaceans in York River estuary and adjacent lower Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science 3, 269–279.

Talbot C. W.Able K. W.1984Composition and distribution of larval fishes in New Jersey high marshes.Estuaries7434443

Underwood A. J., and Chapman M. G. (1989). ‘GMAV5 for Windows.’ (Institute of Marine Ecology, University of Sydney, Australia.)

Weinstein M. P.1979Shallow marsh habitats as primary nurseries for fishes and shellfish, Cape Fear River, North Carolina, United States National Marine Fisheries Service.Fishery Bulletin77339356




Export Citation Cited By (29)