top of page

2023 Publications (links to each paper available at read more)

Baden et al Figure.jpg

Figure 1 from paper - Research questions addressable with emerging technologies for cephalopods. Numbers in brackets refer to the numbers assigned to the different types of cephalopods. (1) Bobtail squid, (2) Loliginid squid, (3) Cuttlefish, and (4) Octopus (Created with

Cephalopod-omic: Emerging fields and technologies in cephalopod biology

Tom Baden,  John Briseño,  Gabrielle Coffing,  Sophie Cohen-Bodénès,  Amy Courtney, Dominick Dickerson,  Gül Dölen,  Graziano Fiorito,  Camino Gestal,  Taryn Gustafson, Elizabeth Heath-Heckman,  Qiaz Hua,  Pamela Imperadore,  Ryosuke Kimbara, Mirela Król,  Zdeněk Lajbner,  Nicolás Lichilín,  Filippo Macchi,  Matthew J McCoy, Michele K Nishiguchi,  Spencer V Nyholm,  Eve Otjacques,  Pedro Antonio Pérez-Ferrer, Giovanna Ponte,  Judit R Pungor,  Thea F Rogers,  Joshua J C Rosenthal,  Lisa Rouressol, Noelle Rubas,  Gustavo Sanchez,  Catarina Pereira Santos,  Darrin T Schultz, Eve Seuntjens,  Jeremea O Songco-Casey,  Ian Erik Stewart,  Ruth Styfhals, Surangkana Tuanapaya,  Nidhi Vijayan,  Anton Weissenbacher,  Lucia Zifcakova, Grace Schulz,  Willem Weertman,  Oleg Simakov,  Caroline B Albertin. 2023. Integrative and Comparative Biology, icad087

Few animal groups can claim the level of wonder that cephalopods instill in the minds of researchers and the general public. Much of cephalopod biology, however, remains unexplored: the largest invertebrate brain, difficult husbandry conditions, and complex (meta-)genomes, among many other things, have hindered progress in addressing key questions. However, recent technological advancements in sequencing, imaging, and genetic manipulation have opened new avenues for exploring the biology of these extraordinary animals. The cephalopod molecular biology community is thus experiencing a large influx of researchers, emerging from different fields, accelerating the pace of research in this clade. In the first post-pandemic event at the Cephalopod International Advisory Council (CIAC) conference in April 2022, over 40 participants from all over the world met and discussed key challenges and perspectives for current cephalopod molecular biology and evolution. Our particular focus was on the fields of comparative and regulatory genomics, gene manipulation, single-cell transcriptomics, metagenomics, and microbial interactions. This article is a result of this joint effort, summarizing the latest insights from these emerging fields, their bottlenecks, and potential solutions. The article highlights the interdisciplinary nature of the cephalopod-omics community and provides an emphasis on continuous consolidation of efforts and collaboration in this rapidly evolving field.

Bice et al ECSS 2023 Figure 2.jpeg

Fig. 2 from paper. Examples of tidal barriers including: a) the Thames River surge barrier, England (photograph by T. Corser, distributed under CC-BY/SA 2.0 license United Kingdom. Image cropped); b) tide gates, Louisiana, USA (M. Kimball); c) Tauwitchere Barrage, Australia (C. Bice); and d) Nieuwe Statenzijl, Netherlands (reproduced with permission of RWA Hunze en Aa’s, Netherlands).

Tidal barries and fish – Impacts and remediation in the face of increasing demand for freshwater and climate change

Bice, CM, J Huisman, ME Kimball, M Mallen-Cooper, BP Zampatti, BM Gillanders. 2023. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 289, 108376.

Worldwide, tidal barriers (e.g. barrages, dikes, tide gates) are constructed in the lower reaches and estuaries of rivers to limit saltwater incursion into upstream freshwater reserves, facilitate water diversion and abstraction, limit flooding, reclaim land and generate electricity. While performing these functions, tidal barriers also affect fish through: 1) reduced connectivity; 2) loss of tidal flux; 3) conversion of upstream estuarine habitats to freshwater; and 4) diminished freshwater discharge, which compresses the spatio-temporal salinity regime of downstream estuarine habitats. As such, tidal barriers commonly cause declines of diadromous and estuarine associated fish species, with a subsequent loss of ecosystem services. These impacts will be exacerbated as climate change promotes sea-level rise and alters freshwater flow regimes and will be amplified by increasing demands for freshwater by a growing human population. As a result, more tidal barriers are likely. Nevertheless, in estuaries with tidal barriers, management that promotes connectivity and more natural ecosystem function is increasing but remains complex from ecological, economic and engineering perspectives. We present case studies from the Netherlands, southeastern United States and southern Australia to characterise impacts on fishes in different biogeographical regions and document contemporary approaches to restoring ecosystem function and fish populations in systems with tidal barriers. To meet these goals, we suggest three key considerations for future research and management are provision of fish passage, reinstating tidal flux and delivering environ-mental flows.

Brookes et al murray-mouth-coorong.jpeg

How well is the basin plan meeting its objectives? From the perspective of the Coorong, a sentinel of change in the Murray-Darling Basin

Brookes, JD, B Busch, P Cassey, D Chilton, S Dittmann, T Dornan, G Giatis, BM Gillanders, M Hipsey, P Huang, C Keneally, MV Jackson, L Mosley, R Mott, D Paton, T Prowse, M Waycott, Q Ye, S Zhai, M Gibbs. 2023. Australasian Journal of Water Resources 27, 223-240.

Freshwater aquatic ecosystems can be considered sentinels of change as they integrate signals from catchment, hydrology and biogeochemistry to provide an indication of how the system fluctuates. The Coorong estuary acts as a sentinel for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia. Its location at the terminus of the Murray-Darling River systems, which drains more than 1 million square kilometres across 22 major catchments, means that any change to climate, water extraction or land use in the upstream catchments will have repercussions for the Coorong. It therefore acts as an indicator of the health of the MDB and the effectiveness of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan at protecting this ecosystem. Environmental water secured through the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and establishment of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder has been critical to preventing significant ecosystem decline in the Coorong. For most water years in the last decade environmental water has contributed to the majority of flow through the barrages. This has exported salt from the basin, reduced influx of salt from the ocean, and expanded available habitat for fish in the Coorong. However, the environmental flows have not been sufficient to arrest sand build up, and dredges still operate at the Murray Mouth during all but the highest flow events. There is a clear case for continued water management and reform, extending beyond the boundaries of the MDB, to further increase security of water flowing along the river system through the barrages and supporting the ecological health of the Coorong, and by association the full MDB.

The Lower Lakes, Coorong and Murray Mouth Icon Site is an important wetland ecosystem that lies between the River Murray and the Southern Ocean. Image from MDBA website.

Chamberlayne 12237_2019_662_Fig1_HTML.png

Hydrological change in southern Australia over 1750 years: a bivalve oxygen isotope record from the Coorong Lagoon

Chamberlayne, BK, JJ Tyler, D Haynes, Y Shao, J Tibby, BM Gillanders. 2023. Climate of the Past 19, 1383-1396.

Multi-centennial records of past hydroclimate change are essential for understanding the resilience of ecosystems to climatic events in addition to guiding conservation and restoration efforts. Such data are also crucial for examining the long-term controls over regional hydroclimate and the inherent variability in extreme droughts and floods. Here, we present a 1750-year record of hydroclimate variability in the Coorong South Lagoon, South Australia, part of an internationally significant wetland system at the mouth of Australia's largest river, the Murray River. Oxygen isotope ratios were measured from Arthritica helmsi bivalve shells preserved in sediments. The oxygen isotope record shows periods of persistent low and high moisture balance, from similar to 500 to 1050 years and from similar to 1300 to 1800 years, respectively, which is consistent with other hydroclimate reconstructions from the region. The range of oxygen isotope values in the sedimentary shells does not differ significantly from the estimated range of modern specimens from the present-day lagoon. These data suggest that the restricted and highly evaporated modern-day conditions are not markedly different to the pre-impacted state over the last 1750 years, although the absence of A. helmsi in the contemporary lagoon is likely a response to increased salinity, nutrient loading, and anoxia during the last century. These insights are potentially useful both in guiding management efforts to conserve and restore the Coorong Lagoon and for understanding long-term water resource availability in the region.

Cooke et al RFBF 2023 GA.webp

Sustaining vibrant fish populations and achieving sustainable fisheries that benefit all – Perspectives from the past to help guide the future

Cooke, SJ, EA Fulton, WHH Sauer, AJ Lynch, JS Link, AA Koning, JK Jena, LGM Silva, AJ King, R Kelly, M Osbourne, J Nakamura, AL Preece, A Hagiwara, K Forsberg, JB Kellner, I Coscia, S Helyar, M Barange, E Nyboer, MJ Williams, R Chuenpagdee, GA Begg, BM Gillanders. 2023. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 33, 317-347.

A common goal among fisheries science professionals, stakeholders, and rights holders is to ensure the persistence and resilience of vibrant fish populations and sustainable, equitable fisheries in diverse aquatic ecosystems, from small headwater streams to offshore pelagic waters. Achieving this goal requires a complex intersection of science and management, and a recognition of the interconnections among people, place, and fish that govern these tightly coupled socioecological and sociotechnical systems. The World Fisheries Congress (WFC) convenes every four years and provides a unique global forum to debate and discuss threats, issues, and opportunities facing fish populations and fisheries. The 2021 WFC meeting, hosted remotely in Adelaide, Australia, marked the 30th year since the first meeting was held in Athens, Greece, and provided an opportunity to reflect on progress made in the past 30 years and provide guidance for the future. We assembled a diverse team of individuals involved with the Adelaide WFC and reflected on the major challenges that faced fish and fisheries over the past 30 years, discussed progress toward overcoming those challenges, and then used themes that emerged during the Congress to identify issues and opportunities to improve sustainability in the world's fisheries for the next 30 years. Key future needs and opportunities identified include: rethinking fisheries management systems and modelling approaches, modernizing and integrating assessment and information systems, being responsive and flexible in addressing persistent and emerging threats to fish and fisheries, mainstreaming the human dimension of fisheries, rethinking governance, policy and compliance, and achieving equity and inclusion in fisheries. We also identified a number of cross-cutting themes including better understanding the role of fish as nutrition in a hungry world, adapting to climate change, embracing transdisciplinarity, respecting Indigenous knowledge systems, thinking ahead with foresight science, and working together across scales. By reflecting on the past and thinking about the future, we aim to provide guidance for achieving our mutual goal of sustaining vibrant fish populations and sustainable fisheries that benefit all. We hope that this prospective thinking can serve as a guide to (i) assess progress towards achieving this lofty goal and (ii) refine our path with input from new and emerging voices and approaches in fisheries science, management, and stewardship.


Consequences of “natural” disasters on aquatic life and habitats

Cooke, S, DMP Galassi, BM Gillanders, SJ Landsman, N Hammerschlag, AJ Gallagher, EJ Eliason, CE Kraft, MK Taylor, CM Crisafulli, DH Shugar, R Lennox. 2023. Environmental Reviews

“Natural” disasters (also known as geophysical disasters) involve physical processes that have a direct or indirect impact on humans. These events occur rapidly and may have severe consequences for resident flora and fauna as their habitat undergoes dramatic and sudden change. Although most studies have focused on the impact of natural disasters on humans and terrestrial systems, geophysical disasters can also impact aquatic ecosystems. Here we provide a synthesis on the effects of the most common and destructive geophysical disasters on aquatic systems (life and habitat). Our approach spanned realms (i.e., freshwater, estuarine, marine) and taxa (i.e., plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, microbes) and included floods, droughts, wildfires, hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons, tornadoes, dust storms, ice storms, avalanches (snow), landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes (including limnic eruptions), tsunamis, and cosmic events. Many geophysical disasters have dramatic effects on aquatic systems. The evidence base is somewhat limited for some natural disasters because transient events (e.g., tornadoes, floods) are difficult to study. Most natural disaster studies focus on geology/geomorphology and hazard assessment for humans and infrastructure. However, the destruction of aquatic systems can impact humans indirectly through loss of food security, cultural services or livelihoods. Many geophysical disasters interact in complex ways (e.g., wildfires often lead to landslides and flooding) and can be magnified or otherwise mediated by human activities. Our synthesis reveals that geophysical events influence aquatic ecosystems, often in negative ways, yet systems can be resilient provided that effects are not compounded by anthropogenic stressors. It is difficult to predict or prevent geophysical disasters but understanding how aquatic ecosystems are influenced by geophysical events is important given the inherent connection between peoples and aquatic ecosystems.

Image: Typhoon tip at peak intensity, NOAA, public domain

Gillanders Begg RFBF Twitter.jpeg

The 8th World Fisheries Congress: sharing our oceans and rivers, a vision for the world’s fisheries. Editorial. 

Gillanders, BM, GA Begg. 2023. The 8th World Fisheries Congress: sharing our oceans and rivers, a vision for the world’s fisheries. Editorial. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 33, 311-315.

The 8th World Fisheries Congress (WFC) hosted from Adelaide, Australia, as a fully virtual event occurred from 20 to 24 September 2021. Being held as a fully virtual event allowed the international fisheries community to come together and exchange ideas at a time when travel was restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Congress attracted 1166 delegates from 60 countries with over 800 presentations. This included over 200 university students along with a number of early career researchers.

Hua et al proteomics-overview.jpeg

Better late than never: Optimising the proteomic analysis of field-collected octopus

Hua, QQH, C Young, TL Pukala, JC Martino, P Hoffmann, BM Gillanders, ZA Doubleday. 2023. Plos One 18(7) e0288084

Proteomics, the temporal study of proteins expressed by an organism, is a powerful technique that can reveal how organisms respond to biological perturbations, such as disease and environmental stress. Yet, the use of proteomics for addressing ecological questions has been limited, partly due to inadequate protocols for the sampling and preparation of animal tissues from the field. Although RNAlater is an ideal alternative to freezing for tissue preservation in transcriptomics studies, its suitability for the field could be more broadly examined. Moreover, existing protocols require samples to be preserved immediately to maintain protein integrity, yet the effects of delays in preservation on proteomic analyses have not been thoroughly tested. Hence, we optimised a proteomic workflow for wild-caught samples. First, we conducted a preliminary in-lab test using SDS-PAGE analysis on aquaria-reared Octopus berrima confirming that RNAlater can effectively preserve proteins up to 6 h after incubation, supporting its use in the field. Subsequently, we collected arm tips from wild-caught Octopus berrima and preserved them in homemade RNAlater immediately, 3 h, and 6 h after euthanasia. Processed tissue samples were analysed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to ascertain protein differences between time delay in tissue preservation, as well as the influence of sex, tissue type, and tissue homogenisation methods. Over 3500 proteins were identified from all tissues, with bioinformatic analysis revealing protein abundances were largely consistent regardless of sample treatment. However, nearly 10% additional proteins were detected from tissues homogenised with metal beads compared to liquid nitrogen methods, indicating the beads were more efficient at extracting proteins. Our optimised workflow demonstrates that sampling non-model organisms from remote field sites is achievable and can facilitate extensive proteomic coverage without compromising protein integrity.

Image: Medicrave – Evaluation fields of Proteomics. From

Hua et al Behaviour 389798-small.jpeg

Innate response to first feeding in Octopus berrima hatchlings despite embryonic food imprinting

Hua, QQH, M Nande, ZA Doubleday, BM Gillanders. 2023. Behaviour 160, 635-660.

Food imprinting has both ecological and evolutionary significance but the generality of these patterns for octopods remains unknown. We aim to determine the prey preference of Octopus berrima hatchlings and whether it may be modified through imprinting. Firstly, hatchlings were given isopods, amphipods and mussels to determine their prey preference ranking. In a separate experiment, embryos were exposed to the visual and chemical stimuli of either isopods, amphipods or mussels separately at least a week before hatching. A prey preference test on hatchlings using all three prey types was conducted. We found that O. berrima had a preference ranking of isopods > amphipods > mussels. However, they retained their isopod prey preference regardless of the prey type they were embryonically exposed to, indicating that it is likely pre-determined as a result of innate biological processes rather than from life experience, providing evidence that imprinting does not occur in O. berrima.

Southern Keeled Octopus, Octopus berrima, curling legs in spirals to mimic seaweed. 

Photographer: Julian Finn. Source: Museums Victoria 

Copyright Museums Victoria / CC BY (Licensed as Attribution 4.0 International)

Hua et al MB 2023 F4lMHIIb0AAPbRT.jpeg

Using genomics and morphometrics to monitor data-poor and commercially exploited octopod populations

Hua, QQH, VA Thomson, JM Strugnell, JC Martino, BM Gillanders, ZA Doubleday. 2023. Marine Biology 170, 119.

Over 150 species of benthic octopods have been described within the 'catch-all' Octopus genus (Family: Octopodidae) and yet, many Octopus species harvested by fisheries remain unidentified to species-level due to a lack of distinguishing traits. Within species, there is also limited information on how populations differ genetically and the level of connectivity between populations. Therefore, we sampled octopods from commercial fisheries in southeast Australia, in order to identify the species, examine the phylogeographic relationships among species and the level of population genetic structuring within species, as well as to look for any adaptive genetic variation. The mitochondrial gene, cytochrome oxidase subunit III (COIII), was sequenced in 346 octopods along with single nucleotide polymorphisms using double digest restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq). Morphometric traits were also measured in mature specimens. The southern keeled octopus ('Octopus' berrima) and pale octopus ('Octopus' pallidus) were identified using COIII data. For 'Octopus' berrima, we found that some populations whilst being morphologically similar were genetically distinct. In contrast, 'Octopus' pallidus populations were both morphologically and genetically distinct across the studied regions. Our results provide key information to better inform conservation and management decisions for developing octopod fisheries in southeast Australia and highlight the importance of genomics tools in the conservation management of commercially and recreationally important species.

Image: An octopus that Qiaz found when underwater (Qiaz Hua).


Innovation to limit seafood fraud post-Covid-19

Lindley, J, E De Sousa, Z Doubleday, P Reis-Santos. 2023. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 33: 501-512

Seafood is an important source of protein and micronutrients, but fishery stocks are increasingly under pressure from both legitimate and illegitimate fishing practices. Sustainable management of our oceans is a global responsibility, aligning with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water. In a post-COVID-19 world, there is an opportunity to build back better, where locally sourced food via transparent supply chains are ever-more important. This article summarises emerging research of two innovative case studies in detecting and validating seafood provenance; and using alternative supply chains to minimise the opportunity for seafood fraud in a post-COVID-19 world.

Image: Fish in Timor Leste.

Ogunola Trophic transfer GA.jpg

Investigating microplastic contamination and biomagnification in a remote area of South Australia

Ogunola, SO, P Reis-Santos, N Wootton, BM Gillanders. 2023. Marine and Freshwater Research 74, 917-927.

Context. Microplastics are widespread in aquatic ecosystems and are commonly recorded in water, sediment and a broad spectrum of marine biota. Yet, the extent to which organisms ingest microplastics directly or indirectly by trophic transfer is largely unknown. Aims. This study characterises microplastic abundance across intertidal water, sediment, and marine biota species of different trophic levels, and investigates whether biomagnification occurs. Methods. Water, sediment, molluscs, crustaceans and fish were sampled from a single area in southern Australia.

Key results. Microplastics were recorded in 35% of water, 45% of sediment and 39% of biota samples. Plastic load was 0.36 +/- 0.08 microplastics g(-1) DW for sediment, 0.50 +/- 0.17 microplastics L-1 for water, and 0.70 +/- 0.25 microplastics individual-1 for biota. Biomagnification was not found, although similarities in plastic characteristics across biota may imply trophic transfer. Most of the microplastics were fibres (97.5%) of blue, black and transparent colour. Spectral analysis (mu-FTIR) indicated that polyester (50%) and polyethylene (42.3%) dominated the polymer compositions. Conclusions. There were no significant differences in microplastic contamination among biota species, with no biomagnification identified.

Implications. We provide information on biomagnification of microplastics alongside a still uncommon characterisation of contamination in water, sediment and biota.

Graphical abstract: Nina Wootton

Reis Santos Otolith graphical abstract final - shared.jpg

Reading the biomineralized book of life: expanding otolith biogeochemical research and applications for fisheries and ecosystem-based management

Reis-Santos, P, BM Gillanders, AM Sturrock, C Izzo, DS Oxman, DS, JA Lueders-Dumont, K Hussy, SE Tanner, T Rogers, ZA Doubleday, AH Andrews, C Trueman, D Brophy, JD Thiem, LJ Baumgartner, M Willmes, MT Chung, P Charapata, RC Johnson, S Trumble, Y Heimbrand, KE Limburg, BD Walther. 2023. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 33, 411-449.

Chemical analysis of calcified structures continues to flourish, as analytical and technological advances enable researchers to tap into trace elements and isotopes taken up in otoliths and other archival tissues at ever greater resolution. Increasingly, these tracers are applied to refine age estimation and interpretation, and to chronicle responses to environmental stressors, linking these to ecological, physiological, and life-history processes. Here, we review emerging approaches and innovative research directions in otolith chemistry, as well as in the chemistry of other archival tissues, outlining their value for fisheries and ecosystem-based management, turning the spotlight on areas where such biomarkers can support decision making. We summarise recent milestones and the challenges that lie ahead to using otoliths and archival tissues as biomarkers, grouped into seven, rapidly expanding and application-oriented research areas that apply chemical analysis in a variety of contexts, namely: (1) supporting fish age estimation; (2) evaluating environmental stress, ecophysiology and individual performance; (3) confirming seafood provenance; (4) resolving connectivity and movement pathways; (5) characterising food webs and trophic interactions; (6) reconstructing reproductive life histories; and (7) tracing stock enhancement efforts. Emerging research directions that apply hard part chemistry to combat seafood fraud, quantify past food webs, as well as to reconcile growth, movement, thermal, metabolic, stress and reproductive life-histories provide opportunities to examine how harvesting and global change impact fish health and fisheries productivity. Ultimately, improved appreciation of the many practical benefits of archival tissue chemistry to fisheries and ecosystem-based management will support their increased implementation into routine monitoring.

Graphical abstract: Nina Wootton


Umbrella terms conceal the sale of threatened shark species: A DNA barcoding approach

Sharrad, AE, P Reis-Santos, J Austin, BM Gillanders. 2023. Food Control 148, 109606

Food fraud in the seafood industry is a growing concern, including the authenticity and provenance of seafood  products that are often unable to be confidently verified along complex, and at times obscure, supply chains. Among the diverse types of seafood fraud, mislabelling and species substitution are common, and have potential implications on human health, the economy, and species conservation. In particular, shark meat can be difficult to monitor, associated with the use of an array of convoluted nomenclature or ambiguous umbrella terms. In Australia, shark meat fillets are a popular seafood item sold under the umbrella term flake in takeaways, and fish and chip shops. We collected samples of flake as sold to consumers at 104 retailers in South Australia and used DNA barcoding to determine the shark species being traded. At least nine distinct species were identified, with only 27% of all samples identified as gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus), a species that has sustainable fisheries, is locally caught, and is one of two species that is recommended to be labelled as flake in Australia. Four species were threatened taxa, including the CITES Appendix II listed short-fin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena). Of all the samples and shops analysed, only 11% of retailers correctly identified the species they sold, another 20% were mislabelled and the remaining only had ambiguous labelling. Ultimately, the umbrella term flake allowed for species misrepresentation but DNA barcoding was an effective tool to test ambiguous labelling in processed and cooked shark meat products, and can guide policy, management, and compliance efforts to mitigate mislabelling, empowering consumers to make informed decisions and champion sustainable seafood.

Graphical abstract: Ashleigh Shard

Silva et al washed2_065.jpg

Short-term plastisphere colonization dynamics across six plastic types

Silva, V, V Perez, BM Gillanders. 2023. Environmental Microbiology 25, 2732-2745.

Marine plastic pollution is a major concern worldwide, but the understanding of plastisphere dynamics remains limited in the southern hemisphere. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a study in South Australia to investigate the prokaryotic community of the plastisphere and its temporal changes over 4 weeks. We submerged six plastic types (i.e., High-Density Polyethylene [HDPE], Polyvinyl chloride [PVC], Low-Density Polyethylene [LDPE], Polypropylene [PP], Polystyrene [PS] and the understudied textile, polyester [PET]) and wood in seawater and sampled them weekly to characterize the prokaryotic community using 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding. Our results showed that the plastisphere composition shifted significantly over short time scales (i.e., 4 weeks), and each plastic type had distinct groups of unique genera. In particular, the PVC plastisphere was dominated by Cellvibrionaceae taxa, distinguishing it from other plastics. Additionally, the textile polyester, which is rarely studied in plastisphere research, supported the growth of a unique group of 25 prokaryotic genera (which included the potential pathogenic Legionella genus). Overall, this study provides valuable insights into the colonization dynamics of the plastisphere over short time scales and contributes to narrowing the research gap on the southern hemisphere plastisphere.

SEM image: Vinuri Silva

Stephenson et al image.jpeg

Integrating management of marine activities in Australia

Stephenson Rl, AJ Hobday, I Butler, T Cannard, M Cowlishaw, I Cresswell, C Cvitanovic, JC Day, K Dobbs, LXC Dutra, S Frusher, M Fudge, B Fulton, BM Gillanders, N Gollan, M Haward, T Hutton, A Jordan, J McDonald, C Macleod, G Pecl, EE Plaganyi, I van Putten, J Vince, T Ward. 2023. Ocean and Coastal Management 234, 106465

Integrated management (IM) has been widely proposed, but difficult to achieve in practice, and there remains the need for evaluation of examples that illustrate the practical issues that contribute to IM success or failure. This paper synthesises experiences of academics and practitioners involved in seven Australian case studies in which there have been attempts to integrate or take a broader, holistic perspective of management. The evaluative framework of Stephenson et al. (2019a) was used as a lens to explore, through workshops and a questionnaire survey, the nine key features and five anticipated stages of IM in the Gladstone Harbour Project, the Great Barrier Reef, the Northern Prawn fishery and regional development, the South-East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership, the Australian Oceans Policy, the New South Wales Marine Estate reforms, and progress toward Integrated Management in the Spencer Gulf. Workshops involving experts with direct experience of the case studies revealed that most of the key features (recognition of the need; a shared vision for IM; appropriate legal and policy frameworks; effective process for appropriate stakeholder participation; comprehensive suite of ob-jectives (ecological, social, cultural, economic and institutional); consideration of trade-offs and cumulative effects of multiple activities; flexibility to adapt to changing conditions; process for ongoing review, evaluation and refinement; and effective resourcing) were seen as important in all case studies. However, there are only a few examples where key features of IM were implemented 'fully'. A subsequent questionnaire of participants using 'best-worst' scaling indicated that an appropriate legal and institutional framework is considered to have most influence on IM outcomes, and therefore is the most important of the key features. This is followed in salience by effective stakeholder participation, effective resourcing, capacity and tools, and recognition of the need for IM. Key features may change in relative importance at different stages in the trajectory of IM.

Figure 1 from paper: Vision for a practical framework for integrated management.

Volrath et al 2023 GA.jpeg

Complex interactions of ENSO and local conditions buffer the poleward shift of migratory fish in a subtropical seascape

Vollrath SR, SE Tanner, P Reis-Santos, B Possamai, AM Grimm, BM Gillanders, JP Vieira, AM Garcia. 2023. Science of the Total Environment 896, 165129

Ocean warming is associated with the tropicalization of fish towards higher latitudes. However, the influence of global climatic phenomena like the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and its warm (El Nino) and cold (La Nina) phases on tropicalization has been overlooked. Understanding the combined effects of global climatic forces together with local variability on the distribution and abundance of tropical fish is essential for building more accurate predictive models of species on the move. This is particularly important in regions where ENSO-related impacts are known to be major drivers of ecosystem change, and is compounded by predictions that El Nino is becoming more frequent and intense under current ocean warming. In this study, we used long-term time series of monthly standardized sampling (August 1996 to February 2020) to investigate how ocean warming, ENSO and local environmental variability influence the abundance of an estuarine dependent tropical fish species (white mullet Mugil curema) at subtropical latitudes in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Our work revealed a significant increasing trend in surface water temperature in shallow waters (<1.5 m) at estuarine and marine sites. However, against our initial expectation, we did not observe an increasing trend in the abundance of this tropical mullet species. Generalized Additive Models revealed complex, non-linear relationships between species abundance and environmental factors operating at large (ENSO's warm and cold phases), regional (freshwater discharge in the coastal lagoon's drainage basin) and local (temperature and salinity) scales across the estuarine marine gradient. These results demonstrate that fish responses to global climate change can be complex and multifaceted. More specifically, our findings suggested that the interaction among global and local driving forces dampen the expected effect of tropicalization for this mullet species in a subtropical seascape.

Graphical abstract: From paper

Whitfield et al Climate_change-environment.jpeg

Climate change effects on fish populations

Whitfield, AK, BM Gillanders, KW Able. 2023. Chapter in: Climate Change and Estuaries, Edited by MJ Kennish, HW Paerl, JR Crosswell. CRC Press

Estuaries are a key aquatic ecosystem most likely to be influenced by climate change. These systems will be direct recipients of major changes to their physico-chemical conditions by riverine, marine, terrestrial, and atmospheric drivers associated with climate change. In addition to these changes, fishes in estuaries are increasingly subjected to habitat degradation, water pollution, and fishery exploitation, all of which are creating stressful conditions for an ichthyofauna already under significant natural environmental pressures. The major climate change drivers are alterations in river flow, salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, sea-level, and connectivity between habitats and ecosystems. The drivers likely to have less influence on estuary-associated fishes this century are increases in dissolved carbon dioxide, declines in pH, and the spread of tropical diseases and parasites. Alternatively, we simply have insufficient information to understand their influence. A review of climate change impacts on estuarine fish assemblages around the world indicates that these impacts are not distributed equally, i.e., they vary among estuaries and associated habitats, processes therein, as well as across biogeographic regions. Yet, one common aspect to all regions is the lack of baseline understanding of the biology of many estuarine fish species, including their environmental sensitivities and tolerances. This is especially the case in polar regions where even documentation of the estuary-associated fish assemblages is largely missing, but initial information suggests these are becoming dynamic and increasingly functional. Looking to the future, research should focus on filling the above gaps, as well as how other anthropogenic impacts in estuaries will interact and compound climate-related changes. The cumulative effects of such impacts will likely increase the vulnerability of fish species, communities, and estuarine ecosystems to climate change, but this has not been quantified. Harnessing the power of modeling approaches to anticipate the impacts of global and regional climate change on estuarine environments at ecologically relevant scales will be vital to assisting estuarine fish assemblages to weather the storm of climate change that is already upon us.

Image: Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-4.0

Near Calperun Station, SA

Near Calperun Station, SA

Giant Australian cuttlefish

Giant Australian cuttlefish

Flinders Chase

Flinders Chase

Tourville Bay

Tourville Bay

Streaky Bay

Streaky Bay

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Routeburn Track

Routeburn Track

White Island

White Island

bottom of page