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Open Access Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 65(2)

Comparative habitat use by large riverine fishes

John D. Koehn A C and Simon J. Nicol A B

A Freshwater Ecology, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, 123 Brown Street, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia.
B Present Address: Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia.
C Corresponding author. Email: John.Koehn@dse.vic.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 65(2) 164-174 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13011
Submitted: 11 January 2013  Accepted: 1 July 2013   Published: 14 October 2013

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The present radio-tracking study compared adult daytime microhabitat use by three large Australian native freshwater fishes (Murray cod, Maccullochella peelii, trout cod, M. macquariensis, golden perch, Maquaria ambigua) and introduced carp, Cyprinus carpio, in the Murray River, south-eastern Australia. The paper describes habitat patches used by all species and quantifies differences among species. All species were strongly associated with structural woody habitat (>68% cover), deeper (>2.4 m), slower water (<0.2 m s–1) closer to the river bank, with variations in substrate. Murray cod and trout cod used deeper habitats (2.8 m and 2.9 m, respectively), with higher surface water velocities (0.37 m s–1 and 0.49 m s–1, respectively) and further from the bank than the habitats of golden perch (2.6 m; 0.31 m s–1) or carp (2.4 m; 0.20 m s–1), the latter species using wood higher in the water column than did cod species. Trout cod used habitats furthest from the bank and carp those closest. These data provide support and direction for reintroduction of structural woody habitat patches for rehabilitation which, in general, should have >70% cover, be >1.5 m high, located <15% of the river channel (width) closest to the bank, with surface water velocities of 0.3–0.6 m s–1.

Additional keywords: Australia, carp competition, Maccullochella, Macquaria, radio tracking, rehabilitation, telemetry, threatened species.


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