Researchers from the University of Western Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management (CENRM), Murdoch University and the Department of Fisheries have just completed one of the largest research projects on endangered freshwater fish in south-western Australia.
The three-year project provides exciting new information on the distribution and ecology of three of the region’s most endangered freshwater fish – the Western Trout Minnow, Balston’s Pygmy Perch and Little Pygmy Perch.
“South-western Australia has the highest proportion of endemic freshwater fish on the continent, with over 80% found nowhere else,” said Dr Paul Close from CENRM.
Loss of habitat, declining water quality and regulation of river flows have reduced the abundance and distribution of a number of the regions freshwater fish over the last few decades.
Dr Close believes that without ongoing effort, we expect this trend will continue, as the region faces a number of future challenges that will directly impact on rivers and their fauna.
The project was a collaboration with Dr David Morgan, Dr Stephen Beatty and Mark Allen from Murdoch University’s Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Dr Craig Lawrence from the Department of Fisheries and Dr Paul Close from CENRM. It provides new insights into how these important species may respond to a variety of future threats.
“Over three years we have extended the known distribution of two species and gained new knowledge on the critical habitats that sustain populations over the dry summer. It offers new opportunities to prepare for and manage our rivers and wetlands so they can continue to support populations of nationally important freshwater fish,” said Dr Close.
The project was supported by funding from the State Government’s National Resources Management Office.
Dr Paul Close (Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management) +61 08 9842 0833