Modelling the potential transport of tropical fish larvae in the Leeuwin Current
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Application of an individual-based particle tracking model to the migration of tropical fish larvae alongthe continental shelf between the Houtman Abrolhos Islands and Rottnest Island (Western Australia)has shown that there is potential for the southwards advection of passive particles/larvae in theLeeuwin Current system throughout the year. However, seasonal variations in the prevailing wind fieldresult in corresponding seasonal changes in the surface current flow (both alongshore and cross-shelf)on the continental shelf, leading to a pulse of modelled particles arriving at Rottnest Island during theautumn months. This matches, within a month, the observed April/May peak in annual recruitment of2 species of damselfish (Abudefduf sexfasciatus and A. vaigiensis), at the time when the Leeuwin Current is strengthening. It is assumed that the larvae are in the uppermost 20 m of the water column and that there are no vertical diurnal movements. The model has a 10 km grid spacing, and so can resolve some of the current gradients across the continental shelf. Comparison of the modelled near-surface currents with ADCP measurements at 2 current mooring sites as well as with a broader range of historical current measurements off southwestern Australia indicates that the alongshore net transport is reasonably well reproduced by the model, whereas agreement with the cross-shelf flow is not as good (this may be partly attributed to the paucity of high-quality near-surface current measurements in the area of study). Because of limitations in our knowledge of the swimming ability, choice of swimming direction and habitat selection of larval fish, as well as the inability of the model to reproduce the small-scale circulation around Rottnest Island, the swimming capacity of the late-stage larval fish is not specifically included; they are considered as potential settlers once they have reached within 20 km of the Island. The observed inter-annual variability in recruitment is not as well matched by the model as is the seasonal pattern, but this is almost certainly due to uncertainties in biological factors such as spawning strength, food and predation en route, which are not known. The modelled results are also applied to a more general discussion of the transport of eggs and larvae of commercial fish and invertebrate species on the Western Australian continental shelf, and it is shown that the seasonality and position on the shelf of the spawning may play a large role in the movement (and hence survival and ultimate recruitment) of different species.
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Pearce, Alan; Slawinski, D.; Feng, M.; Hutchins, B.; Fearns, Peter (2011)Application of an individual-based particle tracking model to the migration of tropical fish larvae alongthe continental shelf between the Houtman Abrolhos Islands and Rottnest Island (Western Australia)has shown that ...
Rennie, Susan Jane (2005)Submarine canyons are important to continental shelf ecosystems. They have a strong influence on shelf circulation and the distribution of biota. The Perth Canyon is a long, deep canyon on the Western Australian coastline ...
Oceanographic processes governing the dispersal and recruitment of marine larvae off South-Western AustraliaPearce, Alan Frank (2016)Larval and juvenile recruitment of two Abudefduf damselfish species at Rottnest Island vary both seasonally and inter-annually. Biological and oceanographic factors together support the conjecture that the larvae originate ...