Connectivity of Mekong fishes between freshwater and marine habitats

An Vu, L.J. Baumgartner, Julia Howitt, Karin Limburg, Juliane Reinhardt, Martin Mallen-Cooper, Ian Cowx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many Mekong fishes are associated with saline water and require movement between freshwater sections of the river, the delta and the sea. Our work has found that around 11 percent of Mekong fish species distribute in a wide range of environments (freshwater,brackish, marine). Dozens of fish species exhibit diadromous traits. A micro chemistry study of 15 Mekong species has revealed that some live in the sea but migrate long distances up the Mekong River for breeding. Many others spend their lives in the river but spawn at sea.Interestingly, several species show variation in migration strategies. For example, some individuals within a given species connect with the Mekong estuary. Others simply stay, and complete their entire lives, in freshwater only.Our work is demonstrating that the life cycles of Mekong species are far more complex than previously thought. Mekong fishes need free access from freshwater and saline water to complete their life cycles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-13
Number of pages4
JournalMekong Fish Catch and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


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