Inter-Research > MEPS > v662 > p209-214  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 662:209-214 (2021)  -  DOI:

Predation on small juvenile fishes in shallow estuarine nursery areas: Reply to Baker & Sheaves (2021)

Alan Whitfield*

South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The key criticism by Baker & Sheaves (2021; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 662:205-208) of the Whitfield (2020; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 649:219-234) estuarine littoral predation paradigm review is that shallow water fish nursery habitats contain abundant predator assemblages which may create high predation pressure on the juvenile fish cohorts that occupy these areas. The primary arguments supporting Baker & Sheaves’ criticism arise from a series of papers published by them on piscivorous fish predation in certain tropical Australian estuaries. The counter-argument that shallow littoral areas in estuaries do indeed provide small juvenile fishes with refuge from small and large piscivorous fishes is provided by published papers from 4 different estuary types in South Africa, covering both subtropical and warm-temperate systems. Based on the overall published information, the argument for shallow (<1 m depth) estuarine waters providing major protection for newly settled juveniles appears to be weak in northern Australia but strong in South Africa. The global situation, as outlined in this response, is more supportive of low piscivorous predation in shallow nursery habitats, but further targeted research is needed before we can confirm that littoral estuarine waters are indeed a universal keystone attribute in this regard.

KEY WORDS: Estuary · Fish · Nursery · Piscivore

Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Whitfield A (2021) Predation on small juvenile fishes in shallow estuarine nursery areas: Reply to Baker & Sheaves (2021). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 662:209-214.

Export citation
RSS - Facebook - - linkedIn