Abiotic drivers of activity in a large, free-ranging, freshwater teleost, Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii)

Jason D. Thiem, Ian J. Wooden, Lee J. Baumgartner, Gavin L. Butler, Jamin Forbes, Matthew D. Taylor, Robyn J. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The allocation of time and energy to different behaviours can impact survival and fitness, and ultimately influence population dynamics. Intrinsically, the rate at which animals expend energy is a key component in understanding how they interact with surrounding environments. Activity, derived through locomotion and basic metabolism, represents the principal energy cost for most animals, although it is rarely quantified in the field. We examined some abiotic drivers of variability in locomotor activity of a free-ranging freshwater predatory fish, Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii), for six months using tri-axial accelerometers. Murray cod (n = 20) occupied discrete river reaches and generally exhibited small-scale movements (<5 km). Activity was highest during crepuscular and nocturnal periods when water temperatures were warmest (19–30C; January–March). As water temperatures cooled (9–21C; April–June) Murray cod were active throughout the full diel cycle and dormant periods were rarely observed. Light level, water temperature and river discharge all had a significant, nonlinear effect on activity. Activity peaked during low light levels, at water temperatures of ~20C, and at discharge rates of ~400 ML d-1. The temporal changes observed in the behaviour of Murray cod likely reflect the complex interactions between physiological requirements and prey resource behaviour and availability in driving activity, and highlight the importance of empirical field data to inform bioenergetics models.

LanguageEnglish
Article numbere0198972
Pages1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2018

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Maccullochella
Maccullochella peelii peelii
Gadiformes
Fresh Water
water temperature
Temperature
Water
Locomotion
Rivers
locomotion
Animals
Light
Population dynamics
rivers
energy
Population Dynamics
energy costs
Water levels
Accelerometers
Metabolism

Cite this

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Abiotic drivers of activity in a large, free-ranging, freshwater teleost, Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii). / Thiem, Jason D.; Wooden, Ian J.; Baumgartner, Lee J.; Butler, Gavin L.; Forbes, Jamin; Taylor, Matthew D.; Watts, Robyn J.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 13, No. 6, e0198972, 01.06.2018, p. 1-14.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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