State’s South-West fish in dire straits December 7, 2009 Murdoch University scientists have found the state’s South-West unique freshwater fish populations are reducing, with a number being listed as endangered. According to Murdoch University’s freshwater fish experts Drs David Morgan and Stephen Beatty the combination of habitat change, decline in water quality and introduction of exotic fishes has had a major impact. The pair recently spoke at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)workshop in Adelaide, revealing the results of their extensive surveys in every river system in South-Western Australia. “Eighty percent of our South-West species are only found here and play an important role in structuring aquatic ecosystems,” said Dr Morgan, Murdoch’s Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research freshwater fish expert. “The combination of habitat change, decline in water quality and introduction of exotic fishes has had a major impact on the distribution species and led to a number being listed as endangered. “The other concern is recent work has shown genetic differences between populations so losing them results in the loss of important genetic information.” The research team surveyed over 2000 sites in the South-West of Western Australia. Dr Beatty, also from the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, said their findings had also shown fresh groundwater intrusions, such as spring-fed tributaries, were crucial in allowing remnant fish populations to exist. “These areas of fresh groundwater intrusions in systems such as the Blackwood River effectively dilute the main channel and maintain permanent tributary habitats for threatened species such as the Balston’s Pygmy Perch,” he said. “Therefore it is very important to maintain this input – particularly in light of the predicted reduction in rainfall due to climatic change in the South-West. “The surveys have mapped the introduction and colonisation of feral fishes such as Goldfish and Mosquitofish that are also having a massive impact on these fishes. “In fact, our research has shown that there are now more species of exotic fishes than natives in these waterways, with a number of new species having being recently recorded.” The IUCN workshop reached a major consensus that a greater level of collaboration was needed between scientists, aquatic managers and the wider community to ensure the effective use of resources in conserving the unique fish fauna of Australia. Image: Courtesy of David Morgan, Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, a Nannatherina balstoni from the South-West. Print This Post Media contact: Jo Manning Tel: (08) 9360 2474 | Mobile: 0408 201 309 | Email: email@example.com Categories: Research, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology Research Tags: conservation, david morgan, fish, south-west, stephen beatty Leave a comment Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published. Thanks for commenting!