New Australian database reveals impact of climate change on larval fish


One of the
first of its kind in the world, a benchmark database of larval fish collected
over the last three decades and analysed by UNSW researchers will help
scientists assess the effects of climate change on the health of Australian


published in Nature’s Scientific Data journal, the database provides the
seasonal dynamics of larval fish in
temperate and subtropical Australian waters.
Larval fishes are a useful measure of marine ecosystem state and change,
as well as species-specific distributions as species shift southward with
climate change. The high level of expertise required to identify larval bream
from a larval flathead, and the considerable effort required to collect them,
make these data extremely valuable.


changing abundance of larval fishes due to changing seasons provides a tangible
signal of climate change for ecosystem management. This publicly available
dataset will be a resource for decades to come” explained lead author,
Dr James Smith from the UNSW.


database is a collaborative effort from many universities, research
institutions and government agencies including the
Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). 


The Sydney
Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) is the operator of the NSW IMOS program and
SIMS CEO, Professor Peter Steinberg said, “SIMS is delighted to see larval fish
researchers using the IMOS infrastructure and becoming part of its national


fish are the delicate early life stage that all fish experience – from sardines
to tuna. Larvae are carried in ocean currents before they are large enough to
swim, and therefore larvae may be found in new areas due to changing ocean
currents.” said 
Professor Iain Suthers, from University of New South Wales and
leader of the National Ichthyoplankton Monitoring and Observing (NIMO)

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