Dr Margaret Platell
School of Environmental and Life Sciences (Applied Sciences)
- Phone:(02) 4349 4809
Ecology of estuarine and marine environments, with a view to understanding the functioning of benthic invertebrate and fish communities, focussing feeding relationships between fish that feed on those benthic invertebrates. Advanced understanding of resource partitioning among demersal fishes in coastal Australian waters, production of an innovative food web for those fishes, role of saltmarshes in promoting trophic relay from estuaries, impacts of yellow-tail kingfish aquaculture on the benthic environment, ecological function of coastal wetlands. Advanced application of multivariate analyses to support this research, including collaborations with Dr Bob Clarke and Prof. Ian Potter.
Coordinated/delivered a wide range of first and second year courses in environmental and marine science and scientific practice. Specialised teaching of third year courses in fish and fisheries biology and management, estuarine ecology and individual student research projects. Include blended learning approaches, focus on team teaching, and on mentoring more junior staff. Sole and joint supervision of >10 Hons, 1 MSc and two PhD students, examined over 30 Hons and PhD theses.
- Doctor of Philosophy, Murdoch University
- Benthic ecology
- Environmental Impacts
- Estuarine, Coastal and Marine Ecology
- Multivariate statistics
- Trophic interactions
Fields of Research
|060299||Ecology not elsewhere classified||35|
|070499||Fisheries Sciences not elsewhere classified||30|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Lecturer||University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
|Web Learn Tutor Env & Life Sciences||University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
|Casual Academic||University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
|Casual Academic||University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|1/01/2006 -||Adjunct Fellow||Murdoch University
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Journal article (41 outputs)
French B, Platell ME, Clarke KR, Potter IC, 'Optimization of foraging and diet by the piscivorous Othos dentex (Serranidae)', Journal of Fish Biology, 90 1823-1841 (2017) [C1]
© 2017 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles The aim of this study was to determine the dietary characteristics and mouth morphology of Othos dentex and to use these data, to... [more]
© 2017 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles The aim of this study was to determine the dietary characteristics and mouth morphology of Othos dentex and to use these data, together with in situ observations of feeding behaviour, to elucidate how foraging and diet are optimized by this piscivorous serranid. Seasonal spear and line fishing over reefs in south-western Australia yielded 426 O. dentex (total length, L T , 183¿605 mm), among which the stomachs of 95 contained food. The food in the stomachs of 76 fish was sufficiently undigested to be seen to contain, almost invariably, a single fish prey, which was typically identifiable to family and often to species. The prey of O. dentex, which were measured (L T ), represented 10 families, of which the Labridae and Pempheridae constituted nearly two-thirds of the prey volume. Two-way crossed analysis of similarities of volumetric data for stomach contents showed that the dietary compositions of the different length classes of O. dentex in the various seasons were significantly related to length class of prey, but not to prey family, length class within the various prey families or season. Furthermo re, an inverse (Q-mode) analysis, including one-way analysis of similarities, showed that the patterns in the prey consumed by the different length classes of O. dentex in the various seasons were related more strongly to length class than prey family. The former trend is exemplified in a shade plot, by a marked diagonality of the length classes of prey with increasing predator size. The ingestion of typically a single teleost prey, whose body size increases as that of O. dentex increases, reduces the frequency required for seeking prey, thus saving energy and reducing the potential for intraspecific competition for food. The ability of O. dentex to ingest large prey is facilitated by its possession of a very large gape, prominent recurved teeth, dorsal and independently-moveable eyes, cryptic colouration and effective ambush behaviour. Othos dentex has thus evolved very cost-effective mechanisms for optimizing its foraging and diet.
Park JM, Coburn E, Platell ME, Gaston TF, Taylor MD, Williamson JE, 'Diets and Resource Partitioning among Three Sympatric Gurnards in Northeastern Tasmanian Waters, Australia', MARINE AND COASTAL FISHERIES, 9 305-319 (2017) [C1]
Coulson PG, Platell ME, Clarke KR, Potter IC, 'Dietary variations within a family of ambush predators (Platycephalidae) occupying different habitats and environments in the same geographical region', JOURNAL OF FISH BIOLOGY, 86 1046-1077 (2015) [C1]
McPhee JJ, Platell ME, Schreider MJ, 'Trophic relay and prey switching - A stomach contents and calorimetric investigation of an ambassid fish and their saltmarsh prey', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 167 67-74 (2015) [C1]
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Trophic relay is an ecological model that involves the movement of biomass and energy from vegetation, such as saltmarshes, within estuaries to the open sea v... [more]
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Trophic relay is an ecological model that involves the movement of biomass and energy from vegetation, such as saltmarshes, within estuaries to the open sea via a series of predator-prey relationships. Any potential for trophic relay is therefore affected by water movements within an estuary and by the ability of a predator to "switch" prey in response to fluctuating abundances of those prey. Saltmarsh-dwelling grapsid crabs, which feed on saltmarsh-derived detritus and microphytobenthos, release zoeae into ebbing tides that inundate saltmarshes during spring-tide cycles within tidally-dominated estuaries, such as Brisbane Water Estuary, therefore providing an opportunity to examine whether prey-switching and/or trophic relay may occur in fish that feed on those zoeae (such as the highly abundant estuarine ambassid, Ambassis jacksoniensis). This model was examined by sampling A. jacksoniensis near saltmarshes in a large, temperate south-eastern Australian estuary during flood and ebb tides on days of saltmarsh inundation and non-inundation over four spring-tide events in 2012. Stomach fullnesses of A. jacksoniensis were generally highest during ebb tides on days of saltmarsh inundation, implying that feeding was most marked at these times. Caridean decapods dominated diets during flood tides and on days of no saltmarsh inundation, while crab zoeae dominated diets during ebb tides and on days of inundation, suggesting that, when saltmarsh-derived zoeae became abundant, A. jacksoniensis switched to feeding on those prey. Three potential zooplankton prey (calanoid copepods, caridean decapods and crab zoeae) did not differ calorimetrically, indicating that switching of prey by A. jacksoniensis is not directly related to their preying on energetically greater prey, but reflects opportunistic feeding on more abundant and/or less elusive prey. As A. jacksoniensis is able to switch prey from estuarine caridean decapods to saltmarsh-derived crab zoeae, this very abundant ambassid would be well-placed to promote any trophic relay, via further water movements or other predator-prey relationships, to the adjacent marine environment.
McPhee JJ, Freewater P, Gladstone W, Platell ME, Schreider MJ, 'Glassfish switch feeding from thalassinid larvae to crab zoeae after tidal inundation of saltmarsh', Marine and Freshwater Research, 66 1037-1044 (2015) [C1]
© CSIRO 2015. Saltmarsh-dwelling grapsid crabs release free-swimming larvae (i.e. zoeae) into ebbing tides during spring-tide cycles that inundate saltmarshes, where initial inund... [more]
© CSIRO 2015. Saltmarsh-dwelling grapsid crabs release free-swimming larvae (i.e. zoeae) into ebbing tides during spring-tide cycles that inundate saltmarshes, where initial inundation is a cue for larval release on subsequent inundations. In a saltmarsh environment, crab zoeae are the main food for fish (including the glassfish, Ambassis jacksoniensis), which 'fast' at other times. This saltmarsh-feeding model was tested by obtaining glassfish from near saltmarshes in a reasonably unmodified tributary of a large temperate estuary on flood and ebb tides during the night in two spring-tide events in austral autumn of 2009. Glassfish fed only on ebbing tides, with stomachs being similarly full on both spring-tide events. Thalassinid larvae (including Trypaea australiensis) dominated the dietary volumes, especially on the night before saltmarsh inundation, presumably being released during inundation of intertidal mud and sand habitats. Although glassfish progressively 'switched' to feeding on greater volumes of crab zoeae (presumably released after inundation of a saltmarsh) over both spring-tide cycles, such zoeal contributions never exceeded those of thalassinid larvae. The above differences highlight that, although ebb tides trigger feeding by glassfish, this ambassid focuses on different prey in a reasonably unmodified environment. The ability of glassfish to switch prey, and thus accommodate environmental differences, helps explain their high abundance in estuaries of this region.
French B, Clarke KR, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'An innovative statistical approach to constructing a readily comprehensible food web for a demersal fish community', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 125 43-56 (2013) [C1]
Tweedley JR, Warwick RM, Valesini FJ, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'The use of benthic macroinvertebrates to establish a benchmark for evaluating the environmental quality of microtidal, temperate southern hemisphere estuaries', Marine Pollution Bulletin, 64 1210-1221 (2012) [C1]
Establishment of a benchmark against which deleterious changes to an estuary can be evaluated requires validating that it has not been subjected to detrimental anthropogenic pertu... [more]
Establishment of a benchmark against which deleterious changes to an estuary can be evaluated requires validating that it has not been subjected to detrimental anthropogenic perturbations and then identifying the biological features which are indicative of a pristine condition and can thus be employed as indicators for detecting and monitoring departures from the natural state. The characteristics of the benthic macroinvertebrate fauna of an essentially pristine, seasonally-open estuary in Western Australia (Broke Inlet) have been determined and compared with those previously recorded for a nearby eutrophic, seasonally-open estuary (Wilson Inlet). Density was far lower in Broke than Wilson. Compositions differed radically at all taxonomic levels, with polychaetes contributing less, and crustaceans more, to the abundance in Broke. Average taxonomic distinctness was greater for Broke than both Wilson and 16 other temperate southern hemisphere estuaries, whereas the reverse was true for variation in taxonomic distinctness, emphasizing that Broke Inlet is pristine. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
French B, Platell ME, Clarke KR, Potter IC, 'Ranking of length-class, seasonal and regional effects on dietary compositions of the co-occurring Pagrus auratus (Sparidae) and Pseudocaranx georgianus (Carangidae)', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 115 309-325 (2012) [C1]
Using an effective combination of multivariate testing and ordination analyses, this study compares the extents to which the diets of two co-occurring fish species (Pagrus auratus... [more]
Using an effective combination of multivariate testing and ordination analyses, this study compares the extents to which the diets of two co-occurring fish species (Pagrus auratus and Pseudocaranx georgianus) are related to body size (length class), season and region and the rank order importance of those effects. Thus, volumetric dietary compositions we re determined for these species on the lower west coast of Australia, where both are abundant, and for P. auratus from the mid west coast and P. georgianus from the south coast. The diet of P. auratus on the lower west coast was strongly related to body size and slightly less to season. With increasing body size, its diet shifted from predominantly ophiuroids to larger prey, such as brachyuran crabs, teleosts, echinoids and ultimately asteroids, probably reflecting a shift from foraging over soft sediments to areas over and around reefs. Seasonal changes on the lower west coast were restricted mainly to small P. auratus, while larger fish underwent seasonal changes further north. Analyses using a common size range of medium to larger P. auratus demonstrated that dietary composition differed more between regions than seasons. The relationships between diet and length class of P. georgianus on both the lower west and south coasts were less pronounced than for P. auratus and seasonal changes were restricted to the south coast, where amphipod consumption increased markedly in summer. The diet of P. georgianus was related far more to region than length class and season, with more small teleosts, small crabs, carideans and littorinids and less amphipods, isopods and small bivalves being ingested on the lower west than south coasts. Although crabs and teleosts were important typifying prey of P. auratus and P. georgianus, when co-occurring, the former predator tended to ingest greater volumes of larger and often less mobile prey. This reflects differences in dentition, jaw morphology and feeding behaviour and reduces the potential for competition for food resources. The results imply that P. auratus and P. georgianus are opportunistic feeders and that the effects of length class, season and region on dietary composition and their rank orders can vary markedly between species and for length class and season between regions for the same species. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Lek E, Fairclough DV, Platell ME, Clarke KR, Tweedley JR, Potter IC, 'To what extent are the dietary compositions of three abundant, co-occurring labrid species different and related to latitude, habitat, body size and season?', Journal of Fish Biology, 78 1913-1943 (2011) [C1]
This study demonstrated that the dietary composition of each of three abundant reef-associated labrid species in temperate Western Australia differed significantly with latitude a... [more]
This study demonstrated that the dietary composition of each of three abundant reef-associated labrid species in temperate Western Australia differed significantly with latitude and changed with increasing body size and almost invariably differed among those species when they co-occurred. These results were derived from comparisons and multivariate analyses of volumetric dietary data, obtained from the foregut contents of Coris auricularis, Notolabrus parilus and Ophthalmolepis lineolatus from the Jurien Bay Marine Park (JBMP) and waters off Perth, 250 km to the south. Latitudinal differences in the dietary compositions of each species in exposed reefs typically reflected greater contributions by large crustaceans, bivalve molluscs, echinoids and annelids to the diets in the waters off Perth than in the JBMP, whereas the reverse was true for gastropods and small crustaceans. The diet of each species exhibited similar, but not identical, quantitative changes with increasing body size, with the contributions of small crustaceans declining and those of large crustaceans and echinoids increasing, while that of gastropods underwent little change. Within the JBMP, the dietary compositions of both C. auricularis and N. parilus were similar in exposed and sheltered reefs and the same was true for N. parilus in the sheltered reefs and interspersed areas of seagrass. The latter similarity demonstrated that, in both of those divergent habitat types, N. parilus feeds on prey associated with either the sand or the macrophytes that cover and lie between the reefs. Although the main dietary components of each species were the same, i.e. gastropods, small crustaceans (mainly amphipods and isopods), large crustaceans (particularly penaeids and brachyuran crabs) and echinoids, their contributions varied among those species, which accounts for the significant interspecific differences in diet. Coris auricularis had the most distinct diet, due mainly to an ingestion of greater volumes of small crustaceans, e.g. amphipods and isopods, and lesser volumes of large crustaceans, e.g. brachyuran crabs, which was associated with a relatively narrower mouth and smaller teeth and the absence of prominent canines at the rear of the jaw. The above intra and interspecific differences in dietary composition would reduce, on the south-west coast of Australia, the potential for competition for food among and within these three abundant labrids, each of which belongs to different genera within the Julidine clade. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Fish Biology © 2011 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Sommerville E, Platell ME, White WT, Jones AA, Potter IC, 'Partitioning of food resources by four abundant, co-occurring elasmobranch species: Relationships between diet and both body size and season', Marine and Freshwater Research, 62 54-65 (2011) [C1]
The present study has tested statistically the hypothesis that the diets of four abundant and co-occurring elasmobranch species differ and change with body size and season and has... [more]
The present study has tested statistically the hypothesis that the diets of four abundant and co-occurring elasmobranch species differ and change with body size and season and has determined the extent of any differences, to ascertain their potential for reducing competition for food resources. Non-metric multivariate analyses of volumetric contributions of dietary categories to stomach contents demonstrated that the dietary compositions of the rays Myliobatis australis and Aptychotrema vincentiana and the sharks Heterodontus portusjacksoni and Squatina australis in south-western Australian waters differed. M. australis fed predominantly on benthic invertebrates, whereas A. vincentiana consumed large volumes of teleosts. The durophagous H. portusjacksoni ingested a wide variety of prey, including gastropods, cephalopods, bivalves, echinoderms and teleosts, whereas S. australis ingested mainly teleosts and cephalopods. The extent and pattern of change in the diet with increasing body size varied among species. For example, the diet of H. portusjacksoni changed abruptly to larger, harder-bodied prey at ~400-mm total length, whereas that of S. australis underwent small, gradual changes with increasing body size. The diets of each species changed seasonally. Inter- and intraspecific variations in dietary composition reduce the potential for competition between and within these abundant elasmobranch species in south-western Australian waters. © 2011 CSIRO.
Platell ME, Hesp SA, Cossington SM, Lek E, Moore SE, Potter IC, 'Influence of selected factors on the dietary compositions of three targeted and co-occurring temperate species of reef fishes: Implications for food partitioning', Journal of Fish Biology, 76 1255-1276 (2010)
The dietary compositions of three medium to large targeted fish species, which co-occur over reefs in temperate waters of south-western Australia, were determined. These data were... [more]
The dietary compositions of three medium to large targeted fish species, which co-occur over reefs in temperate waters of south-western Australia, were determined. These data were then used to ascertain statistically the extent to which body size, season and habitat influence the diets of these species and the degree to which food resources were partitioned among and within those species, and thus reduced the potential of interspecific and intraspecific competition. On the west coast, Bodianus frenchii (Labridae) and Epinephelides armatus (Serranidae) spent their whole life over prominent limestone reefs, as did Glaucosoma hebraicum (Glaucosomatidae) in all but juvenile life, when it lived over low-relief, limestone substrata. The dietary composition of each species changed with increasing body size, which, in G. hebraicum, was particularly pronounced at c. 300 mm total length (L T ) and therefore at the size when this species shifts habitat. When the three species co-occurred over the same reefs, their dietary compositions were significantly different, with that of B. frenchii being by far the most discrete, reflecting a far greater contribution by sedentary taxa. Thus, the diet of B. frenchii was distinguished from those of the other two species in containing substantial volumes of bivalve and gastropod molluscs and echinoid echinoderms and essentially no teleosts. Although the diets of G. hebraicum and particularly E. armatus were dominated by teleosts, and especially for larger individuals, the former species ingested greater volumes of cephalopods and small crustaceans. The pointed jaws of B. frenchii, with their forwardly directed and interlocking anterior incisors, are ideally adapted for biting and retaining their invertebrate prey, which are attached to or reside within reef crevices. In contrast, the mouths of G. hebraicum and E. armatus are broader and rounder and contain numerous small, slender and inward-pointing teeth. These teeth, in conjunction with prominent backward-curved canines in E. armatus, facilitate the capture and retention of fish prey. Observations in situ indicate that G. hebraicum is a suction feeder, while E. armatus is predominantly a ram feeder. Although reef environments on the west and south coasts differ, the diet of B. frenchii on these coasts differed only slightly. Interspecific differences in diet, combined with size-related changes in dietary compositions and the occupation of different habitats by juvenile and adult G. hebraicum, reduce the potential for competition for food resources among and within B. frenchii, G. hebraicum and E. armatus and thus helps facilitate the coexistence of these species which historically have been abundant over reefs in south-western Australia. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Powter D, Gladstone W, Platell ME, 'The influence of sex and maturity on the diet, mouth morphology and dentition of the Port Jackson shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni', Marine and Freshwater Research, 61 74-85 (2010) [C1]
Platell ME, Freewater P, 'Importance of saltmarsh to fish species of a large south-eastern Australian estuary during a spring tide cycle', Marine and Freshwater Research, 60 936-941 (2009) [C1]
Morton JK, Platell ME, Gladstone W, 'Differences in feeding ecology among three co-occurring species of wrasse (Teleostei : Labridae) on rocky reefs of temperate Australia', Marine Biology, 154 577-592 (2008) [C1]
Chuwen BM, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Dietary compositions of the sparid Acanthopagrus butcheri in three normally closed and variably hypersaline estuaries differ markedly', Environmental Biology of Fishes, 80 363-376 (2007)
We have compared the species composition and diversity of the diets of black bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri, in three normally closed estuaries on the central south coast of Wester... [more]
We have compared the species composition and diversity of the diets of black bream, Acanthopagrus butcheri, in three normally closed estuaries on the central south coast of Western Australia, which vary markedly in the extents to which they become hypersaline during dry periods. Although black bream was caught seasonally in Stokes Inlet during this 3-year study, it was obtained from the Hamersley and Culham inlets only during the earlier seasons because salinities in those two estuaries subsequently rose to levels that caused massive mortalities of this sparid. Although a wide range of taxa, including macrophytes, polychaetes, molluscs, crustaceans, insects and teleosts, were ingested by A. butcheri in each estuary, the frequencies of ingestion and volumetric dietary contributions of these taxa varied greatly among the fish in these three estuaries. Thus, for example, in comparison with other estuaries, relatively greater contributions were made to the diet by polychaetes and crustaceans in Stokes Inlet, by macrophytes in Hamersley Inlet, and by insects (mainly chironomid larvae) in Culham Inlet. The relatively greater contribution of teleosts to the diets of black bream in the Hamersley and Culham inlets than in Stokes Inlet, and also differences in the main teleost species ingested in the first two estuaries, are consistent with differences in the densities of fish overall and of the main fish species in those estuaries. The diversity of the diet was far greater in Stokes Inlet than in the other two far more variably saline estuaries, presumably reflecting a greater diversity of food. The dietary compositions of black bream in upstream pools in the tributary of Culham Inlet, which offer refuge when salinities increase markedly in the main body of the estuary, differ from those in those downstream regions, further emphasising the opportunistic nature of the feeding behaviour of black bream. The dietary compositions of black bream underwent size-related changes, but the taxa contributing most to those changes varied greatly among estuaries. Size-related changes would be particularly beneficial in reducing intraspecific competition for food in the two estuaries that vary greatly in salinity and would thus be likely to contain a less diverse range of prey. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Platell ME, Ang HP, Hesp SA, Potter IC, 'Comparisons between the influences of habitat, body size and season on the dietary composition of the sparid Acanthopagrus latus in a large marine embayment', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 72 626-634 (2007)
Seasonal samples from Shark Bay on the west coast of Australia were used to determine (1) the habitats occupied by the juveniles and adults of Acanthopagrus latus in this large su... [more]
Seasonal samples from Shark Bay on the west coast of Australia were used to determine (1) the habitats occupied by the juveniles and adults of Acanthopagrus latus in this large subtropical marine embayment and (2) the extent to which the dietary composition of this sparid is influenced by habitat type, body length and season. Sampling was undertaken in two habitat types in which A. latus was known to be abundant, namely mangrove (Avicennia marina) creeks and nearby rocky areas, the latter comprising sandstone boulders and/or limestone reefs. The mean total length ±95% CLs of A. latus was far lower in mangrove creeks, 126 ± 6.1 mm, than in rocky areas, 313 ± 4.7 mm. As A. latus attains maturity at ca. 245 mm, the juveniles of this species typically occupy mangrove areas and then, with increasing body size, move to nearshore rocky areas, where they become adults. The species composition of the food ingested by juvenile A. latus in mangrove creeks differed markedly from that of large juveniles and adults in rocky areas. Based on analyses of data for both habitat types combined, this difference was far greater than that between size classes and season, which was negligible. There were indications, however, that, overall within each habitat, the dietary composition did change seasonally, although not with body size. Acanthopagrus latus fed predominantly on mangrove material, sesarmid crabs and small gastropods in mangrove habitats, and mainly on Brachidontes ustulatus in rocky areas, where this mytilid bivalve is very abundant. The mangrove material, which contributed nearly 40% of its overall dietary volume in mangrove creeks, consisted mainly of lateral root primordia. This apparently unique food source for a teleost is presumably ingested through subsurface nipping, which would be facilitated by the mouth and dentitional characteristics of sparids. The almost total lack of correspondence in the dietary compositions of fish in the length class that was well represented in both mangrove and rocky areas illustrates the extent to which this sparid is capable of opportunistic feeding behaviour. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Platell ME, Orr PA, Potter IC, 'Inter- and intraspecific partitioning of food resources by six large and abundant fish species in a seasonally open estuary', Journal of Fish Biology, 69 243-262 (2006)
This study has tested the hypotheses that the dietary compositions of the six large and abundant fish species in the 46 km 2 basin of a seasonally open estuary (Wilson Inlet) wil... [more]
This study has tested the hypotheses that the dietary compositions of the six large and abundant fish species in the 46 km 2 basin of a seasonally open estuary (Wilson Inlet) will differ significantly, change with increasing body size and vary with water depth and season. These species comprise four marine species, the sea mullet Mugil cephalus, yellow-eye mullet Aldrichetta forsteri, King George whiting Sillaginodes punctata and Australian herring Arripis georgiana, and populations of two species that are confined to the estuary, the cobbler Cnidoglanis macrocephalus and the southern blue-spotted flathead Platycephalus speculator. Non-metric multidimensional ordination and associated tests showed that, overall, the dietary composition was influenced to a far greater extent by the species of fish than by either water depth or season. At even a relatively broad level of taxonomic discrimination, the dietary compositions of each pair of species were significantly different, except for those of A. georgiana v. P. speculator, and even in that case those of their larger individuals differed. Differences among the diets of the six species, which represented five families, are related to differences in feeding morphology and location within the water column. Mugil cephalus ingested almost exclusively sediment and fine organic material. Although A. forsteri and S. punctata both consumed substantial amounts of polychaetes (including nereids, capitellids and orbiniids), the former ingested relatively larger volumes of small crustaceans (copepods) and relatively lower volumes of large crustaceans (the carid Palaemonetes australis), nemertines and bivalve siphons. The diets of A. georgiana and P. speculator were both typified by the consistent and high contributions of large crustaceans and fishes. Among fish prey, however, A. georgiana focused to a far greater extent on the small clupeid Engraulis australis, whereas P. speculator consumed a wider range of teleosts, which included species of atherinid and goby. Although the diets of A. forsteri and C. macrocephalus both contained substantial amounts of coarse organic material, the latter differed markedly from those of all other species by the frequent presence of mytilids (mainly Xenostrobus spp.) and other bivalves (especially Tellina deltoidalis and Irus crenata). The diets of each species except M. cephalus changed with increasing body size and, for comparable size classes, did not differ between shallow and deeper waters. The partitioning of food resources within and among the six large and abundant fish species found in Wilson Inlet would reduce the potential for competition for these resources and help account for the large numbers of those species in this seasonally open estuary. © 2006 The Authors.
Wildsmith MD, Potter IC, Valesini FJ, Platell ME, 'Do the assemblages of benthic macroinvertebrates in nearshore waters of Western Australia vary among habitat types, zones and seasons?', Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 85 217-232 (2005)
Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled seasonally in the subtidal and upper and lower swash zones at two sites in each of six nearshore habitat types on the lower west coast of A... [more]
Benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled seasonally in the subtidal and upper and lower swash zones at two sites in each of six nearshore habitat types on the lower west coast of Australia. The habitat types, which differed mainly in the extent of their exposure to wave activity and whether sea grass and/or nearshore reefs were present, had been distinguished quantitatively using values for a suite of seven statistically-selected enduring environmental characteristics (Valesini et al., 2003). The core samples yielded 121 species representing eight phyla, among which the Polychaeta, Malacostraca and Bivalvia were the most speciose classes, contributing ~38, 23 and 10%, respectively, to the total number of individuals. The total number of species and mean density of macroinvertebrates at the most protected habitat type (1), i.e. 70 and 209.2 individuals 0.1 m -2 , respectively, were far greater than in any other habitat type. Habitat type influenced species composition to a greater extent than either zone or season. Furthermore, the extents of the differences among the species compositions of the six habitat types statistically matched the extents of the differences among the values for the suite of enduring environmental characteristics that distinguished each of those habitat types. Overall, the species composition at habitat type 1 was the most distinct, containing five abundant species of polychaetes that were adapted to deposit-feeding in calm waters with high levels of organic material and which were rare in all other habitat types. In contrast, the fauna at the most exposed habitat type was characterized by four crustacean species and a species of bivalve and polychaete, whose mobility and tough external surface facilitated their survival and feeding in turbulent waters. The zonal differences in faunal compositions among habitat types were greatest in the case of the subtidal zone. The faunal compositions differed among zones and seasons only at the most protected habitat type.
Hourston M, Platell ME, Valesini FJ, Potter IC, 'Factors influencing the diets of four morphologically divergent fish species in nearshore marine waters', Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 84 805-817 (2004)
The dietary compositions of Atherinomorus ogilbyi (Atherinidae), Sillago schomburgkii (Sillaginidae), Lesueurina platycephala (Leptoscopidae) and Ammotretis elongatus (Pleuronecti... [more]
The dietary compositions of Atherinomorus ogilbyi (Atherinidae), Sillago schomburgkii (Sillaginidae), Lesueurina platycephala (Leptoscopidae) and Ammotretis elongatus (Pleuronectidae) in three nearshore habitats on the lower west coast of Australia, which varied in their exposure to wave energy and the extent to which they contain sea grass, have been determined. The dietary compositions of these four abundant teleosts differed, reflecting marked differences between the location in the water column, head and mouth morphology and feeding behaviour of these species. Atherinomorus ogilbyi, which has a relatively high and large mouth, fed mainly on planktonic invertebrates in the water column, while S. schomburgkii ingested predominantly benthic prey, such as polychaetes and bivalves, which it extracted from the sediment using its downward-protruding mouth. Lesueurina platycephala employed its large mouth, cryptic coloration and ambush feeding to target relatively large teleosts and invertebrates, while the small mouth and flattened body of Ammotretis elongatus facilitated the ingestion of small crustacean prey, e.g. cumaceans and amphipods, which live on the substrate surface. Atherinomorus ogilbyi consumed predominantly calanoid copepods, cladocerans and insects during the day and mainly amphipods at night, when the latter taxon became abundant in the water column. The dietary composition of each species underwent a similar pattern of size-related change, being most pronounced in L. platycephala during the day. The diets of A. ogilbyi and S. schomburgkii, the two species for which the data were most comprehensive, differed among habitats and seasons, reflecting differences in the densities of their main prey. Comparisons between the day-time diets of the above four species with those recorded previously for a further four abundant species in the same habitats during the day, show that food resources are well distributed among the main fish species in nearshore waters along the lower west coast of Australia. This feature, together with the size-related changes in the diets of the different species, reduces the potential for inter-and intraspecific competition for food by fish species in this environment.
White WT, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Comparisons between the diets of four abundant species of elasmobranchs in a subtropical embayment: Implications for resource partitioning', Marine Biology, 144 439-448 (2004)
The diets of one ray species (Rhinobatus typus) and three shark species (Carcharhinus cautus, Negaprion acutidens, Rhizoprionodon acutus) undergo size-related changes and differ a... [more]
The diets of one ray species (Rhinobatus typus) and three shark species (Carcharhinus cautus, Negaprion acutidens, Rhizoprionodon acutus) undergo size-related changes and differ among these species in the nearshore waters of a large subtropical embayment (Shark Bay) in which these elasmobranchs are abundant, thereby reducing the potential for competition for food within and among these four species. R. typus fed almost exclusively on penaeid prawns and portunid crabs, which is reflected in its narrow dietary breadth, whereas different species of teleosts constituted a major component of the diets of each size class of the three shark species. The prey consumed by the three shark species was diverse, with representatives of 15 teleost families being consumed by C. cautus and substantial volumes of cephalopods being ingested by that species and R. acutus. The pronounced differences in the diet of the single ray species and three shark species reflect differences between a bottom-dwelling and more pelagic life, and between modes of feeding and relative mouth sizes. The relative contributions of the different species of teleost to the diets of the three shark species varied. Thus, although each of these species fed on atherinids, labrids and sillaginids, C. cautus also consumed substantial amounts of platycephalids and terapontids and R. acutus and N. acutidens also ingested considerable amounts of clupeids. Furthermore, R. acutus, which is the only one of the four species that typically occurs over seagrass, was the only species that fed on the centropomid Psammoperca waigensis, which is very abundant in seagrass meadows. However, the sparid Rhabdosargus sarba, which lives in unvegetated areas, was never ingested by R. acutus, but was consumed by C. cautus and N. acutidens. As the individuals of R. typus increased in size, they progressively consumed proportionately smaller volumes of the penaeid prawns Penaeus merguiensis and Melicertus latisulcatus and relatively greater volumes of the portunid crab Portunus pelagicus, which is slightly larger and has a harder exoskeleton. In addition to teleosts, large C. cautus ingested substantial volumes of portunid crabs and ophidian reptiles, presumably sea snakes, while large N. acutidens also fed on the ray R. typus.
Schafer LN, Platell ME, Valesini FJ, Potter IC, 'Comparisons between the influence of habitat type, season and body size on the dietary compositions of fish species in nearshore marine waters', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 278 67-92 (2002)
Fish were collected from over bare sand in nearshore shallow waters at three sites that varied in the extent to which they were exposed to wave activity and which were located wit... [more]
Fish were collected from over bare sand in nearshore shallow waters at three sites that varied in the extent to which they were exposed to wave activity and which were located within a 45-km stretch on the lower west coast of Australia. Sampling was undertaken within a 4-6-week period in each season. The volumetric contributions of different prey to the stomach contents and the mouth characteristics of four species, i.e. Sillago bassensis and Sillago vittata (Sillaginidae), Spratelloides robustus (Clupeidae) and Pseudorhombus jenynsii (Bothidae), were determined. Overall, the dietary compositions of the four species differed significantly from each other and those of fish at both the three different sites and in four consecutive seasons were also significantly different. In comparison with S. bassensis, the morphologically similar S. vittata fed to a relatively greater extent on polychaetes than zooplankters, presumably reflecting in part its greater ability to extend its upper jaw downwards towards the benthos. S. robustus typically targeted calanoid copepods in the plankton, whereas P jenynsii fed on larger benthic prey taxa, reflecting the large differences in mouth morphology and feeding behaviour of these species. Although the diets of S. bassensis and S. vittata were strongly influenced by habitat type and season, the former variable was slightly more important for both of these species. However, the reverse applied with S. robustus. Season strongly influenced the dietary composition of P. jenynsii at the one site at which it was regularly caught. The diets of the two Sillago species and P. jenynsii underwent pronounced size-related changes, which would help distribute the food resources among the individuals of the different size classes of each of these species. In contrast, all size classes of S robustus fed predominantly or exclusively on calanoid copepods at all sites and in all seasons, except at the most sheltered site in winter when these zooplankters were not found in samples taken from the water column. The seasonal and habitat variations recorded in the diets of the fish species in this study imply that these species are able to feed opportunistically, a characteristic that would be of particular value to fish that live in nearshore waters where the relative abundance of the different prey types varies with habitat type and season. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Partitioning of food resources amongst 18 abundant benthic carnivorous fish species in marine waters on the lower west coast of Australia', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 261 31-54 (2001)
The volumetric contributions made by prey and plant material to the diets of 4 elasmobranch and 14 teleost species, collected seasonally by trawling from waters along ca. 200 km o... [more]
The volumetric contributions made by prey and plant material to the diets of 4 elasmobranch and 14 teleost species, collected seasonally by trawling from waters along ca. 200 km of the lower west coast of Australia, have been compared. These benthic carnivores, which were all abundant and collectively contributed 83% to the total number of fish caught, represented nine families (Urolophidae, Scorpaenidae, Triglidae, Platycephalidae, Sillaginidae, Carangidae, Gerreidae, Mullidae and Pempherididae). Some species were numerous in both shallow (5-15 m) and deeper (20-35 m) waters and in both northern and southern regions, whereas others were largely confined to one of these water depths or regions. Comparisons between the diets of the different species, which utilised data collected from individuals throughout the study area, demonstrated that the dietary composition of any given species was almost invariably significantly different from that of every other species. This partly reflected the fact that, while errant polychaetes, gammarid amphipods and tanaids were ingested by all species, their contributions to the diets of the different species varied. Furthermore, echinoderms contributed to the diets of just nine species, and this was substantial only in the case of two sillaginid species, while teleosts were never consumed by six species and only made a marked contribution to the diets of the single species of platycephalid. The diet of each species underwent size-related changes, reflecting a shift from the consumption by smaller fish of prey such as amphipods, mysids and copepods, to the ingestion by larger fish of prey such as polychaetes, carid decapods, isopods and small teleosts. The interspecific and intraspecific differences in dietary compositions would spread the food resources amongst and within species, thereby reducing the potential for competition for those resources within the fish community. Non-metric multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) ordination plots emphasised that the dietary compositions of species within each family possessed some obvious similarities, reflecting similarities in body and mouth morphology and feeding behaviour. However, the extent to which the dietary compositions of the different families were similar or different was often not related to the phylogenetic relationships amongst those families. Furthermore, while differences in mouth size and morphology could sometimes be used to account for differences amongst the diets of the full suite of species, this was not always the case. Thus, the ways in which species feed and use their ancillary feeding structures were also employed to help elucidate the basis for variations in diets. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Linke TE, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Factors influencing the partitioning of food resources among six fish species in a large embayment with juxtaposing bare sand and seagrass habitats', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 266 193-217 (2001)
Six abundant fish species were collected from a large embayment during both day and night and at bimonthly intervals for a year. Gerres subfasciatus and Upeneus tragula occurred m... [more]
Six abundant fish species were collected from a large embayment during both day and night and at bimonthly intervals for a year. Gerres subfasciatus and Upeneus tragula occurred mainly over bare sand, while Psammoperca waigiensis, Centrogenys vaigiensis and Apogon victoriae lived mainly in seagrass (Amphibolis antarctica) and A. rueppellii often migrated from seagrass to over bare sand at night. All species except U. tragula fed at night, as well as during the day. The overall dietary compositions of the six species were significantly different from each other, even when the species occurred in the same habitat. G. subfasciatus and U. tragula consumed greater volumes of errant polychaetes, which could be readily targeted in a substrate that does not contain dense rhizome mats. In contrast, P. waigiensis, C. vaigiensis and A. victoriae ingested greater volumes of carid decapods, which are particularly abundant in seagrass and, thus, within the water column. Furthermore, when A. rueppellii moved at night from seagrass to over sand, the consumption of carid decapods declined, whereas that of polychaetes and particularly mysids, which are very abundant over bare sand, increased. However, the composition of the prey consumed by different species within the same habitat also often varied markedly. For example, unlike U. tragula, G. subfasciatus ingested not only sedentary polychaetes, but also considerable volumes of errant polychaetes, reflecting its ability to use a combination of vision and its highly protrusible mouth to target prey both on and just below the substrate surface. Differences in the types and range of prey ingested by the six species could often be related to differences in the overall size, width and/or protrusibility of the mouth. Furthermore, dietary breadth was greatest in species with the largest mouth dimensions. The diets of three species underwent diel changes that could be related to differences in foraging mode and/or prey availability. Thus, a use of vision to detect prey would account for the greater consumption during the day of copepods by G. subfasciatus and of small teleosts by A. rueppellii, while the nocturnal emergence of amphipods and/or tanaids from the substrate explains their greater ingestion by G. subfasciatus, A. victoriae and A. rueppellii at night. Although the smaller individuals of each species consumed larger volumes of prey, such as copepods and mysids, and the larger fish ingested greater volumes of prey, such as decapods and teleosts, the extent of the size-related changes in diet varied markedly amongst species. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
White WT, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Relationship between reproductive biology and age composition and growth in Urolophus iobatus (Batoidea: Urolophidae)', Marine Biology, 138 135-147 (2001)
The aim of the present study was to use samples, collected by trawling throughout the year along the lower west coast of Australia, to determine the reproductive biology, size and... [more]
The aim of the present study was to use samples, collected by trawling throughout the year along the lower west coast of Australia, to determine the reproductive biology, size and age compositions, and growth rate of Urolophus lobatus, a member of a speciose elasmobranch family (Urolophidae) for which there was previously only a small amount of such data. U. lobatus copulates about 3 months prior to the time when females ovulate, which implies that sperm is stored in the oviducal gland of the female in the intervening period. Gestation lasts for 10 months, which is relatively long for a species that does not grow to a large size. This feature is reflected in the fact that the mean disc width at parturition (105 mm) is equivalent to as much as 44% and 52% of the asymptotic disc widths of the females and males of this species, respectively. The trends exhibited by the marginal increments on vertebral centra demonstrated that each of the translucent zones in these centra is laid down annually and that their numbers can thus be used to age this species. Maturity was attained by about 70% of females and 50% of males at the end of the 4th and 3rd years after conception, respectively, or at just over 3 and 2 years after birth, respectively. Females and males typically first reach maturity at ~200 and ~160 mm, respectively, and attained maximal disc widths of 277 and 237 mm, respectively. Females reached maximum ages of 15 years from conception and 14 years from birth, with the corresponding values for males being 13 and 12 years, respectively. Since such a large amount of growth occurs during gestation, von Bertalanffy growth curves were constructed using the date of conception, that is, the fertilisation date, as age 0, as is usually the case with teleosts, as well as employing the birth date as age 0, as is typically the case with elasmobranchs. The growth curves drawn through the points for the disc width-at-age of the older female and male fish gave a slightly better fit when using, as age 0, the parturition date rather than the conception date. However, the asymptotic disc widths derived for females and males using the conception date, that is, 241.3 and 202.9 mm, were each still only 7.6 mm less than those derived using the birth date. Moreover, the fit of the line drawn through the points for the disc width-at-age of fish during gestation was better using the conception date as age 0 than would be achieved by a backwards extrapolation of the growth curve using the birth date as age 0.
Kanandjembo AN, Potter C, Platell ME, 'Abrupt shifts in the fish community of the hydrologically variable upper estuary of the Swan River', Hydrological Processes, 15 2503-2517 (2001)
Fish were sampled in nearshore, shallow waters ( < 1.5 m deep) and offshore, deeper waters (2.5-5 m) of the saline lower reaches of the Swan and Canning Rivers, which collectiv... [more]
Fish were sampled in nearshore, shallow waters ( < 1.5 m deep) and offshore, deeper waters (2.5-5 m) of the saline lower reaches of the Swan and Canning Rivers, which collectively represent the upper Swan-Canning Estuary, by using seine and gill nets, respectively, in each season between winter 1995 and autumn 1997. Seventeen of the 34 fish species caught during the study spawn in the upper estuaries. These species, which include the semi-anadromous Nematalosa vlaminghi, comprised 50.0% of the number of species and 88.8% of the number of fish in shallow waters and 43.8 and 89.9%, respectively, of those in deeper waters. The two most abundant species in shallow waters, Engraulis australis and N. vlaminghi, contributed 36.0 and 19.6%, respectively, to the total numbers of fish in those waters, and latter species comprised nearly 50% of the catch in deeper waters. During winter, when freshwater discharge increased sharply and salinities declined precipitously, the number of species and abundance of fish in shallow and deeper waters were generally at their lowest and the species composition was the most discrete. This reflected the downstream movement out of the upper estuary of substantial numbers of individuals of species such as N. vlaminghi, Acanthopagrus butcheri, Amniataba caudavittata, Atherinomorus ogilbyi, Atherinosoma elongata and Craterocephalus mugiloides and the upstream movement into the upper estuary of juvenile Mugil cephalus. The overall fish fauna then changed quite abruptly in spring, when large N. vlaminghi, A. butcheri and A. caudavittata became abundant as they migrated into the upper estuary where they then spawned. During summer and autumn, the fauna in the shallows then changed more gradually through, inter alia, the recruitment of juvinile A. caudavittata and Sillago burrus and the influx of the small atherinids A. elongata and C. mugiloides. The abrupt change in the fish community in winter contrasts with the gradual, cyclical changes undergone during the year by the icthyofaunas of holarctic, macrotidal estuaries, such as the Severn Estuary in the UK, in which the hydrology does not undergo such sudden, extreme seasonal changes and the ichthyofauna is dominated by marine and diadromous species that each enter the estuary at specific, but varying times of the year. Differences between the fish faunas of the shallow waters of the Swan and Canning Rivers are probably related to differences in the hydrological characteristics and locations of the mouths of these two tributaries. © 2001 John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
Kanandjembo AN, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'The benthic macroinvertebrate community of the upper reaches of an Australian estuary that undergoes marked seasonal changes in hydrology', Hydrological Processes, 15 2481-2501 (2001)
Benthic macroinvertebrates were collected from the substrata of nearshore, shallow waters (depths < 1 m) and offshore, deeper waters (depths 2.5-5 m) of three regions in the ... [more]
Benthic macroinvertebrates were collected from the substrata of nearshore, shallow waters (depths < 1 m) and offshore, deeper waters (depths 2.5-5 m) of three regions in the saline lower reaches of the tributary rivers that comprise the upper Swan Estuary in each season between winter 1995 and autumn 1997. Freshwater discharge in the two tributary rivers varied markedly during both years and consequently salinities in the upper estuary ranged from < 1% in winter to > 30¿ in autumn. The most abundant species, the galeommatid bivalve Arthritica semen, contributed > 25% to the total numbers of macroinvertebrates in both shallow and deeper waters. The continuous reproduction, rapid growth, short life cycle and tolerance to a wide range of salinities, that characterize this species, represent ideal adaptations for life in a seasonally very variable environment. The overall number of species and density of benthic macroinvertebrates were typically greater in shallow than deeper waters. Species composition also differed significantly between water depths. The nereidid polychaete Ceratonereis aequisetis and mytilid bivalve Xenostrobus securis, which feed on plant material, were relatively far more abundant in shallow than deeper waters, whereas the reverse was true for the spionid polychaete Prionospio cirrifera and sabellid polychaete Desdemona ornata, which feed on the detrital material that settles out in deep waters. Heavy freshwater discharge in winter 1996 was accompanied by very marked changes in the richness, density and composition of species in shallow waters, but not in those of deeper waters where scouring would have been less pronounced. The species compositions in both the shallow and deeper waters of each region usually differed significantly among the seasons of each year and between the corresponding seasons in the different years. Region within the estuary had little or no influence on the species richness, density and faunal composition of benthic macroinvertebrates, even though the regions were located in two different tributary rivers. The above results demonstrate that, within each region, certain species were particularly successful in the first year, while others were more abundant in the second year, which in turn suggests that the benthic macroinvertebrate fauna of each region is responding to the same fine-scale differences between environmental conditions in the two years. © 2001 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.
De Lestang S, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Dietary composition of the blue swimmer crab Portunus pelagicus L. Does it vary with body size and shell state and between estuaries?', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 246 241-257 (2000)
The aim of this study was to determine the diets of Portunus pelagicus in the large Peel-Harvey and Leschenault estuaries in south-western Australia in order to ascertain whether ... [more]
The aim of this study was to determine the diets of Portunus pelagicus in the large Peel-Harvey and Leschenault estuaries in south-western Australia in order to ascertain whether the dietary composition of this crab changes with body size during two different moult stages and differs between the two estuaries. Portunus pelagicus, ranging in age and carapace width from ca. 2 months and 12 mm to ca. 1 1/2 years and 159 mm, were collected from the shallow basins of the Peel-Harvey and Leschenault estuaries. Examination of the cardiac stomachs of these crabs showed that P. pelagicus does not feed just before or immediately after moulting and that the stomachs of recently- moulted crabs contained significantly more food than those of intermoult crabs. Although the volumetric contribution made by calcareous material to the stomach contents was similarly high in all size classes of recently- moulted crabs, i.e. 47 to 55%, the volumetric contributions made by small bivalves decreased with body size, whereas the reverse occurred with shell fragments of large decapods and, to a lesser extent, polychaetes. The dietary compositions of intermoult crabs were shown by classification and multi- dimensional scaling ordination to differ markedly from those of recently- moulted crabs and to undergo similar progressive ontogenetic changes in both the Peel-Harvey and Leschenault estuaries. Thus, the contribution made by small benthic and epibenthic crustaceans, such as amphipods and tanaids, declined with increasing body size, whereas the reverse occurred with larger prey, such as nereid polychaetes, small decapods and teleosts. The dietary composition of P. pelagicus was influenced more by moult stage, i.e. recently moulted vs. intermoult, than by body size. Although the dietary compositions of P. pelagicus in the two estuaries were not significantly different, they did differ from those recorded from coastal marine waters in the same region, thereby reflecting differences in the potential prey in those two environments. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
Sarre GA, Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Do the dietary compositions of Acanthopagrus butcheri in four estuaries and a coastal lake vary with body size and season and within and amongst these water bodies?', Journal of Fish Biology, 56 103-122 (2000)
The dietary compositions were determined for Acanthopagrus butcheri in four estuaries and a saline, coastal lake, which vary in the extent, if any, of their connection to the sea ... [more]
The dietary compositions were determined for Acanthopagrus butcheri in four estuaries and a saline, coastal lake, which vary in the extent, if any, of their connection to the sea and amongst which, in spring and summer, their salinities ranged from 2 to 7¿ in an intermittently open estuary to > 40¿ in a normally closed estuary. The dietary compositions of A. butcheri in each of the five water bodies were significantly different, which reflected differences in the abundance of different components of the biota in those systems. Biotic differences amongst water bodies thus accounted for the far larger contributions made to the volume of the stomach contents by the macroalgae Cladophora sp. in the Moore River Estuary on the lower west coast of Australia, by amphipods and decapods in the Swan River Estuary 85 km further south and by polychaetes in the landlocked Lake Clifton a further 85 km further south. The diet of A. butcheri in the Nornalup/Walpole Estuary on the south coast of Western Australia contained atypically large volumes of the seagrass Ruppia megacarpa and teleosts, whereas that in the normally closed Wellstead Estuary, 260 km to the east was characterised by large volumes of the macroalgae Chaetomorpha sp. and a tube-dwelling amphipod. However, there is evidence that A. butcheri selects certain prey, when two or more of the typical prey of A. butcheri are present in the environment, and that it prefers to feed on or above the substratum, rather than within the substratum. The dietary composition of A. butcheri underwent pronounced ontogenetic changes in each water body, these being progressive in estuaries on the lower west coast and abrupt in those on the south coast. Within the upper Swan Estuary, the dietary composition changed in an upstream direction, reflecting changes in the relative abundance of certain benthic macroinvertebrate prey, but did not undergo conspicuous seasonal changes, which is consistent with the lack of any clear cut seasonal changes in the abundance of their major prey. (C) 2000 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Potter IC, Chalmer PN, Tiivel DJ, Steckis RA, Platell ME, Lenanton RCJ, 'The fish fauna and finfish fishery of the Leschenault Estuary in South-Western Australia', Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 83 481-501 (2000)
This paper collates unpublished and published data on the fish faunas of the large basin and Collie River regions of the Leschenault Estuary in 1982/83 and 1993/94, and provides i... [more]
This paper collates unpublished and published data on the fish faunas of the large basin and Collie River regions of the Leschenault Estuary in 1982/83 and 1993/94, and provides information on the commercial and recreational fisheries in that estuary. The most abundant of the 42 fish species recorded in eight six-weekly samples collected from the nearshore, shallow waters of the basin in 1994, were the long-finned goby Favonigobius lateralis, the sandy sprat Hyperlophus vittatus and the atherinids Leptatherina presbyteroides and Atherinosoma elongata; these four species collectively contributing 83.0% to the total number of fish caught. Of the 42 species, 20 were marine species which use the estuary as a nursery area (marine estuarine-opportunists), while 13 complete their life cycles in the estuary, of which seven are also represented by marine populations. The contribution made to the total number of individuals by marine estuarine-opportunists and marine stragglers collectively (32.1%) was far lower than that of species which complete thier life cycles in the estuary (67.9%). The presence in shallow waters of large numbers of representatives of species that spawn in the estuary, which parallels the situation found in other south-western Australian estuaries, is probably related to the maintenance of stable conditions and high salinities during late spring and summer when these species, which generally have marine affinities, typically spawn. The composition of the fish fauna of the shallows of Leschenault Estuary differs markedly from that of comparable waters in Koombana Bay into which this estuary discharges. Indeed, the most abundant species in the bay, the flathead sandfish Lesueurina platycephala, which contributed ca 25% to the total numbers in those marine waters, was never recorded in the estuary. The fish catches in offshore, deeper waters of the estuary basin and Collie River comprised larger species and, unlike the situation in shallow waters, were dominated by marine estuarine-opportunists and the semi-anadromous Perth herring Nematalosa vlaminghi. However, the composition of the fish fauna in offshore, deeper waters of the basin differed markedly from that in corresponding waters in the Collie River. This was mainly due to the presence in the basin of far more species and relatively greater numbers of species, such as yellow-eye mullet (Aldrichetta forsteri), tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix) and Australian herring (Arripis georgiana), and to the occurrence in the river of relatively greater numbers of Perth herring and sea mullet (Mugil cephalus). Length-frequency data provide strong evidence that, within the estuary, the small species F. lateralis, L. presbyteroides and A. elongata spawn mainly in summer and typically have a one year life cycle. The small juveniles of the marine species A. forsteri and M. cephalus are recruited into the estuary between mid-or late autumn and early spring, which is consistent with the fact that the spawning period of these two species is very protracted, extending through autumn and winter. Both of these mugilids were represented in some months by three or more age classes. Recruitment into the estuary of King George whiting (Sillaginodes punctata) occurs in spring, while that of yellow-finned whiting (Sillago schomburgkii) and prickly toadfish (Contusus brevicaudus) takes place in summer and autumn, respectively. This reflects spawning occurring in winter and early spring in the case of the first species and in summer with the second and third species. These three species were apparently represented mainly by only two age classes. While length-frequency data show that P. saltatrix also uses the estuary as a nursery area, the modal size classes did not follow such consistent trends throughout the year, possibly reflecting a recruitment, in some years, of the 0+ age class of both the spring and autumn-spawning cohorts. Th e growth of all of these species essentially ceased during...
Hyndes GA, Platell ME, Potter IC, Lenanton RCJ, 'Does the composition of the demersal fish assemblages in temperate coastal waters change with depth and undergo consistent seasonal changes?', Marine Biology, 134 335-352 (1999)
The aim of this study was to determine whether the composition of the demersal fish fauna in coastal marine waters in temperate Australia changes markedly with increasing water de... [more]
The aim of this study was to determine whether the composition of the demersal fish fauna in coastal marine waters in temperate Australia changes markedly with increasing water depth and distance from the shore and whether the composition of the fish fauna in water depths of 5 to 35 m undergoes cyclic, seasonal changes. Samples of demersal fishes were therefore collected by trawling over the predominantly sandy substrate at nine sites located in water depths of 5 to 15 m or 20 to 35 m and within 20 km of the shore in four regions along ~200 km on the lower west coast of Australia. The sampling regime involved trawling for fishes at each site at night in seven consecutive seasons between the summer of 1990/1991 and winter of 1992. A total of 72 435 fishes, representing 77 families, 143 genera and 172 species was caught. The compositions of the fish faunas in offshore waters with depths of 5 to 35 m were shown to differ markedly from those previously recorded for nearshore marine waters in the same regions. However, as some species; such as Sillago burrus, S. vittata, S. bassensis and Rhabdosargus sarba, increase in size, they move out from their nursery areas in nearshore waters into deeper and more offshore waters, where spawning occurs. Ordination showed that, in each of the four regions, the composition of the fish fauna in depths of 5 to 15 m differs from that in depths of 20 to 35 m. This difference is attributable to the fact that some species, such as S. burrus, S. vittata and Upeneichthys lineatus, are far more abundant in depths of 5 to 15 m, whereas other species, such as S. robusta, U. stotti and Lepidotrigla modesta, occur predominantly in depths of 20 to 35 m. However, the samples collected from the single site that was inshore but in deeper water demonstrate that the composition of the fish fauna is influenced by distance from shore as well as by water depth. The compositions of the fish faunas differed with latitude, largely due to the fact that some subtropical species, such as Polyspina piosae, S. burrus and S. robusta, did not extend down into the more southern regions. Ordination also showed that the composition of the fish faunas at all but one of the nine sites underwent pronounced and consistent cyclic, seasonal changes. This seasonal cyclicity at the different sites was attributable to sequential patterns of immigrations and emigrations by a number of fish species during the course of the year. These seasonal migrations involved, inter alia (1) movements of certain species from their nursery areas into these deeper waters, e.g. S. bassensis and Scobinichthys granulatus; (2) migrations into and off the sandy areas of the inner continental shelf, e.g. Arnoglossus muelleri; (3) migrations to spawning areas, e.g. Sillago robusta; and (4) movements into areas where detached macrophytes accumulate in winter, e.g. Cnidoglanis macrocephalus and Apogon rueppellii.
Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Partitioning of habitat and prey by abundant and similar-sized species of the triglidae and pempherididae (Teleostei) in coastal waters', Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 48 235-252 (1999)
The aim of this study was to determine whether certain co-occurring and abundant species of the teleost families Triglidae and Pempherididae are segregated spatially and/or by die... [more]
The aim of this study was to determine whether certain co-occurring and abundant species of the teleost families Triglidae and Pempherididae are segregated spatially and/or by diet, and are thus less likely to be susceptible to competition for resources. Nocturnal otter trawling in shallow (5-15 m) and deeper (20-35 m) waters in four regions along ~200 km of the south-western Australian coastline collected large numbers of a wide size range of the triglids Lepidotrigla modesta and Lepidotrigla papilio and the pempheridids Pempheris klunzingeri and Parapriacanthus elongatus. Although these four species frequently co-occurred at several sites, each species attained its highest density at different sites, thereby representing a partial segregation of these species by habitat. This even occurred with the congeneric triglid species, with L. modesta being most abundant in the four deep, offshore sites, while L. papilio was most numerous at three sites which varied in depth and distance from shore. Although triglids and pempheridids both consumed substantial amounts of amphipods and mysids, only the members of the latter family ingested a large amount of errant polychaetes. The latter difference is assumed to reflect the fact that, in comparison with triglids, pempheridids can swim faster, have a mouth adapted for feeding upwards in the water column and feed at night when errant polychaetes emerge from the substratum. Although the dietary compositions of L. modesta and L. papilio did not differ significantly when analyses were based on dietary data for all sites, they did differ significantly when analyses were restricted to dietary data obtained when both species were abundant and co-occurred. The likelihood of competition for food is thus reduced in the latter circumstances. In comparison with P. klunzingeri, P. elongatus consumed a relatively larger volume of amphipods and a relatively smaller volume of mysids, which are more mobile, implying that P. elongatus feeds to a greater extent on rather than above the substratum surface. The diets of all species underwent ontogenetic changes, which were particularly marked in P. klunzingeri where an increase in body size was accompanied by a reduced consumption of mysids and an increased ingestion of errant polychaetes and amphipods. The fact that L. modesta, L. papilio, P. klunzingeri and P. elongatus are partially segregated by habitat and feed on suites of prey which differ in composition, allied with an interfamilial difference in the time of feeding, would reduce the likelihood of competition for resources amongst these four species, when they co-occur and are abundant. Furthermore, ontogenetic changes in diet would reduce the potential for intraspecific competition for food.
Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Distributions, size compositions and diets of two abundant benthic ambush-feeding teleosts in coastal waters of south-western Australia', JOURNAL OF THE MARINE BIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM, 78 587-608 (1998)
Platell ME, Potter IC, Clarke KR, 'Do the habitats, mouth morphology and diets of the mullids Upeneichthys stotti and U. lineatus in coastal waters of south-western Australia differ?', Journal of Fish Biology, 52 398-418 (1998)
Two benthic carnivorous goatfish (Mullidae), Upeneichthys stotti (max total length, L(T) = 179 mm) and U. lineatus (max L(T) = 257 mm), were trawled from the inner continental she... [more]
Two benthic carnivorous goatfish (Mullidae), Upeneichthys stotti (max total length, L(T) = 179 mm) and U. lineatus (max L(T) = 257 mm), were trawled from the inner continental shelf waters of Western Australia. U. stotti was found almost exclusively offshore at 20-35 m depth, while U. lineatus was most abundant inshore at 5-15 m depth. Smaller individuals of both species ate small, thin-shelled mysids, tanaids and amphipods, while larger fish ate large, hard-bodied isopods, carid decapods and brachyuran crabs. Classification and ordination of the mean volumetric percentage contributions of the prey (dietary samples) of both species from all sites and in each season did not lead to a clear separation between these two species. However, ordination demonstrated that the dietary samples of the two species were distinct when the two species were found together, and when fish of sequential 20-mm length intervals were used. The interspecific size-class differences were consistent with the results obtained using Schoener's overlap index, for which values > 0.6 were recorded for only two of the 45 possible interspecific pairwise comparisons. Since these interspecific differences occurred despite virtually identical mouth sizes and morphologies, the two species must feed in a slightly different manner and/or in different microhabitats. While most comparable-sized fish ate tanaids and amphipods, U. stotti ate more relatively mobile epibenthic mysids, cumaceans and carid decapods, whereas U. lineatus ate more larger and slower-moving burrowing bivalves, onuphid polychaetes and brachyuran crabs. The partial partitioning of habitats, when combined with differences in the diet, would help facilitate the co-existence of these two mullids when they are abundant.
Platell ME, Potter IC, 'Distributions, size compositions and diets of two abundant benthic ambush-feeding teleosts in coastal waters of south-western Australia', Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 78 587-608 (1998)
The scorpaenid Maxillicosta scabriceps (Teleostei) and the platycephalid Platycephalus longispinis (Teleostei) were trawled seasonally for a year from shallow (5-15 m) and deeper ... [more]
The scorpaenid Maxillicosta scabriceps (Teleostei) and the platycephalid Platycephalus longispinis (Teleostei) were trawled seasonally for a year from shallow (5-15 m) and deeper (20-35 m) waters in four distantly-located regions of the inner continental shelf of south-western Australia. The former species was more abundant in southern regions, which is consistent with its temperate distribution, while the latter species was more abundant in deep than shallow waters. Unlike M. scabriceps, P. longispinis with total lengths < 110 mm were rarely caught, indicating that this latter species only moves on to the sandy substrate of the inner shelf when it reaches a certain size. As M. scabriceps increased in size, the contributions of mysids, amphipods and oxyrhyncan crabs to the diet declined, while those of carid decapods and brachyrhyncan crabs increased. The invertebrate fauna ingested by the smallest length-class of P. longispinis, 110-139 mm, was similar to that of the same and largest length-class of M. scabriceps. However, unlike M. scabriceps, this length-class of P. longispinis consumed teleosts, despite having a relatively smaller mouth. The contribution of teleosts subsequently increased as P. longispinis increased in size, a feature reflected by the relatively low dietary breadth of large fish. The marked shift in the types of prey ingested by P. longispinis as it increased in size accounted for the fact that, in contrast to M. scabriceps, there was limited dietary overlap between the larger and smaller members of this platycephalid. The ability of P. longispinis to ingest other fish is presumably related to the fact that platycephalids lie just under the substrate surface and are thus concealed from their potential prey, and that they are able to emerge rapidly and pursue their prey. Unlike several other local demersal fish species, M. scabriceps and P. longispinis ingested only a small amount of sediment, implying that these ambush predators target their prey very precisely, a foraging mode that would be facilitated by the epibenthic and conspicuous nature of their prey. The absence of marked differences in the dietary compositions of these two species in different regions, water depths and seasons is consistent with a specific mode of foraging by these species.
Platell ME, Potter IC, Clarke KR, 'Resource partitioning by four species of elasmobranchs (Batoidea: Urolophidae) in coastal waters of temperate Australia', Marine Biology, 131 719-734 (1998)
Four species of stingarees (Urolophus lobatus, U. paucimaculatus, Trygonoptera personata and T. mucosa) were abundant in samples collected from over sandy substrates in four regio... [more]
Four species of stingarees (Urolophus lobatus, U. paucimaculatus, Trygonoptera personata and T. mucosa) were abundant in samples collected from over sandy substrates in four regions along ~200 km of the lower west coast of Australia in each season between summer 1990/1991 and winter 1992. The main aim of this study was to determine whether these four species were segregated by habitat, size, sex and/or diet, thereby reducing the potential for intra- and interspecific competition. The densities of U. lobatus and T. personata were almost invariably greater in deep, offshore waters (20 to 35 m) than in shallow, inshore waters (5 to 15 m), while those of U. paucimaculatus were greatest in the southernmost region, irrespective of depth, and those of T. mucosa were highest at the single inshore site at which the water was deep. None of these species was segregated by either size or sex. The volumetric dietary compositions of the two Urolophus species, which consisted predominantly of various crustaceans, and those of the two species of Trygonoptera, which consisted mainly of different polychaetes, were significantly different from each other. The two Urolophus species initially fed largely on amphipods, mysids and carid decapods but, with increasing size, U. lobatus started to ingest teleosts and U. paucimaculatus commenced feeding on errant polychaetes and penaeid decapods. The contribution of errant polychaetes to the diets of T. personata rose progressively from 0% in the smallest fish to 90% in the largest fish, thereby accounting for a concomitant progressive decline in dietary breadth and for intraspecific dietary overlap typically to occur only between successive size classes. In contrast, the volumetric contribution of sedentary polychaetes to the diets of T. mucosa remained high (65 to 80%) throughout life, which accounts for the relatively low and constant dietary breadth of most size classes and a significant overlap in the diets of all but one pair of size classes. The diets of each of the four stingaree species occasionally differed between sites and sometimes underwent seasonal changes, presumably reflecting spatial and temporal differences in the types of prey in the environment. Since the ratios of benthic to epibenthic prey in the diets of the two Trygonoptera species were greater than in those of the two Urologhus species, the first two species apparently forage deeper into the substrate. The combination of partial segregation of the four stingaree species among habitats and the differences in the dietary compositions and feeding strategies of these species, would presumably facilitate the co-existence of these batoid elasmobranchs when they are abundant in the same general region.
Hyndes GA, Platell ME, Potter IC, Lenanton RCJ, 'Age composition, growth, reproductive biology, and recruitment of King George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata, in coastal waters of southwestern Australia', Fishery Bulletin, 96 258-270 (1998)
The age structure, growth and reproductive biology have been determined for the recreationally and commercially important King George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata, off southwest... [more]
The age structure, growth and reproductive biology have been determined for the recreationally and commercially important King George whiting, Sillaginodes punctata, off southwestern Australia. The maximum lengths and ages, asymptotic lengths (L8), and growth coefficients (K) were 596 mm, 14 years, 532 mm, and 0.47, respectively, for females, and 555 mm, 13 years, 500 mm and 0.53, respectively, for males. Sexual maturity is attained by 50% of female S. punctata by ca. 410 mm in length, and by the majority of both female and male fish at the end of their fourth year of life. The monthly trends in the proportions of mature gonads and the prevalence of different oocyte stages and postovulatory follicles indicated that, in southwestern Australia, S. punctata spawns from June to September. Spawning is thus initiated when water temperatures are declining from their maxima. During the spawning period, many of the ovaries of large fish contained yolk vesicle and yolk granule oocytes, as well as hydrated oocytes or postovulatory follicles (or both), indicating that S. punctata is a multiple spawner. Furthermore, because hydrated oocytes or postovulatory follicles were often found together with large numbers of yolk granule oocytes, S. punctata presumably releases eggs in batches during the spawning period. Recruitment of S. punctata into sheltered nearshore waters ( < 1.5 m) commences in late September, three months after the onset of spawning, and continues until early November. When juvenile S. punctata reach ca. 1.5 years of age and ca. 250 mm, the legal minimum length for capture, they move out into slightly deeper waters (2-6 m) in marine embayments and estuaries. After attaining ages of ca. 4 years and lengths of ca. 370 mm, they then migrate from these waters, where fishing pressure is greatest, into regions near or around reefs at depths of 6-50 m, where spawning occurs. In contrast to S. punctata, the five other whiting species in southwestern Australian waters, which all belong to the genus Sillago, spawn between late spring and early autumn. In the case of the three Sillago species that undergo an offshore migration, this movement occurs at a relatively small size and young age and leads to their occupying open sandy areas. The implications of S. punctata habitat and biological data for fishery management are discussed.
|Show 38 more journal articles|
Conference (2 outputs)
|2007||Morton JK, Platell ME, Gladstone W, 'Differences in feeding ecology facilitate co-occurrence of three wrasse species (Pisces: Labridae) on rocky reefs of temperate Australia', Spatial Management in Fisheries, Canberra, ACT (2007) [E3]|
|2007||Freewater P, Platell ME, Gladstone W, Taylor D, Garber S, Van Ormondt M, 'Dynamics of saltmarsh-mangrove complexes and their importance to estuarine food webs', The Tide is High: Coastal Pressures, Climate Change, Sustainability: the Way Forward, Yamba, NSW (2007) [E2]|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||5|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20181 grants / $8,000
Funding body: Central Coast Council
|Funding body||Central Coast Council|
|Project Team||Doctor Troy Gaston, Doctor Vincent Raoult, Doctor Tim Smith, Doctor Margaret Platell|
|Type Of Funding||C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other|
20174 grants / $69,145
Funding body: Huon Aquaculture
Funding body: Newcastle City Council
|Funding body||Newcastle City Council|
|Project Team||Doctor Troy Gaston, Doctor Vincent Raoult, Doctor Tim Smith, Doctor Margaret Platell|
|Scheme||Small Research Consultancy|
|Type Of Funding||C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other|
Reassessment of the fish populations and potential implications for ecosystem function in Grahamstown Reservoir$18,375
Funding body: Hunter Water Corporation
Is there enhancement, depletion or trophic subsidy of local rocky reefs by seacage aquaculture? $7,118
Funding body: University of Newcastle
Number of supervisions
Total current UON EFTSL
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2018||Masters||Assessment of Fish Populations & Potential Implication for Ecosystem Function in Grahamstown Reservoir||M Philosophy (EnvironmentalSc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2017||Masters||Characterisation of Inflows and Implications for Water Quality in Grahamstown Dam||M Philosophy (EnvironmentalSc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|Year||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2017||PhD||Life History Characteristics of Glassfish, Ambassis Jacksoniensis, Adjacent to Saltmarsh within a Large and Permanently-open Estuary||PhD (Marine Science), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
Dr Margaret Platell
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science
Web Learn Tutor Env & Life Sciences
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science
|Phone||(02) 4349 4809|
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Ourimbah, NSW 2258