MEPS 272:271-280 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps272271

Small-scale dynamics of secondary dispersal in a seagrass associated fish: a caging study

Sean M. Moran1, Gregory P. Jenkins2,*, Michael J. Keough1, Jeremy S. Hindell2

1Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
2Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, PO Box 114, Queenscliff, Victoria 3225, Australia
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Secondary planktonic dispersal potentially alters recruitment patterns of marine organisms, but little is known about whether this process occurs in temperate fishes. This study investigated whether disturbance in seagrass beds, caused by onshore winds that induce high wave action, facilitated the resuspension and secondary dispersal of post-larval King George whiting Sillaginodes punctata (Cuvier). Cage inclusion experiments were conducted in seagrass beds within Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Live post-larvae were released into cages during 3 different wind conditions (onshore, alongshore and offshore) and their positions in the cage relative to the shoreline were recorded after 1 h. Significantly higher numbers of post-larvae were collected on the seaward side of cages during high waves associated with onshore winds. Of these post-larvae, higher numbers were collected with increasing onshore wind speed. Our results suggest that physical disturbance, at the seagrass-bed scale, has the potential to alter recruitment patterns of S. punctata by facilitating secondary dispersal.

KEY WORDS: Physical disturbance · Secondary dispersal · Seagrass · Sillaginodes punctata · Post-larvae

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