Factors influencing recruitment patterns of Golden Perch (Macquaria ambigua oriens) within a hydrologically variable and regulated Australian tropical river system

Authors

  • D. T. Roberts,

    1. Centre for Environmental Management, Freshwater Ecology Group, Central Queensland University, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, Queensland, 4702, Australia
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  • L. J. Duivenvoorden,

    1. Centre for Environmental Management, Freshwater Ecology Group, Central Queensland University, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, Queensland, 4702, Australia
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  • I. G. Stuart

    1. Queensland Fisheries Service, Department of Primary Industries, 22 Yeppoon Road, Parkhurst, Rockhampton, Queensland, 4702, Australia
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  • Present address: I. G. Stuart, Kingfisher Research, 20 Chapman Street, Diamond Creek, Victoria 3089, Australia.

D. T. Roberts, Department of Natural Resources and Water, 80 Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, Queensland 4068, Australia; e-mail: david.roberts@nrw.qld.gov.au

Abstract

Abstract –  The links between river flows, water temperature, river regulation and recruitment variability of Golden Perch, Macquaria ambigua oriens, were investigated from the Fitzroy Basin, Queensland. The dominant age classes determined by interpreting growth marks observed in otoliths were variable among rivers. Positive correlations between the age frequency and monthly river flow volumes were greatest in summer (December–March) conversely, autumn, winter and spring river flows correlated poorly for most rivers. Water temperature exhibits strong seasonality across the basin with mean monthly temperatures >23 °C generally occurring between October and April. These data indicate the combination of water temperature and increased river flows are important factors for recruitment. The degree of river regulation is also suspected of contributing to increased variability in dominant age classes within rivers. This assessment highlights the importance of timing of river flows in mitigating the negative effects of river regulation on golden perch populations.

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