Publication Details

O'Mara, K. M. & Wong, M. Y. L. (2015). Body size mediated effects of multiple abiotic stressors on the growth and social behaviour of an estuarine fish, Australian Bass (Macquaria novemaculeata). Environmental Biology of Fishes, 99 (1), 95-104.


Anthropogenic climate change is expected to result in dramatic shifts in the abiotic conditions within estuaries, including an elevation of temperature and salinity levels. Even so, few studies have addressed the impacts of multiple abiotic stressors on the behaviour and life history of key estuarine species, such as those of biological and commercial importance. Here we used a cross-factored experimental design to tease apart the effects of temperature and salinity on intraspecific aggression and growth rates of a native estuarine fish species, the Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata). Juvenile bass were exposed to one of four treatment conditions: 1) baseline temperature and salinity, 2) elevated temperature, 3) elevated salinity, and 4) elevated temperature and salinity. Elevated salinity increased rates of aggression, and elevated temperature decreased rates of growth, although the effects of both factors were mediated by the body size of individual bass. These results therefore highlight complex and variable effects of abiotic stressors and body size, emphasising the importance of considering individual-level attributes when evaluating the impacts of climate change on estuarine fishes.



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