Spatial partitioning in the use of structural woody habitat supports the cohabitation of two cod species in a large lowland river

Jason Lieschke, Jarod P. Lyon, P Moloney, Simon Nicol

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    Many freshwater fish worldwide have been shown to use Structural Woody Habitat (SWH) for a variety of reasons. The mid reaches of the Murray River, a large lowland river in south-eastern Australia, was surveyed by boat electrofishing, to investigate the use of SWH type (hollows, rootmass and solids), SWH distance to bank (near bank, intermediate to bank and mid-channel) and the interaction between SWH type and distance to bank. The study found that Murray cod catch per unit effort (CPUE) increased in near-bank areas when hollows were a component of the SWH. The CPUE of trout cod was higher when hollows were present. However, the interactions between distance to bank and hollow SWH were complex and dependent on presence or absence of rootmass. The species-specific interactions between SWH microhabitat and distance to bank found within this study has important relevance for stream managers. The common practice of realigning SWH favours Murray cod over trout cod, which could have negative consequences for the endangered trout cod. More broadly, managers may need to consider a balance of SWH type and where it is placed in the river for the species they are targeting when rehabilitating rivers via the introduction of SWH
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1835-1843
    Number of pages9
    JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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