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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Growth histories hidden in the ear-bones of an estuarine predator (Argyrosomus japonicus) uncover decades of increasing growth rates, suggesting positive growth trajectories under future warming scenarios.

Photo: D. van der Meulen, Graphic: P. Nicolle

Nicolle P, Hughes J, Fowler A, Schilling HT

Long-term increase in growth of an estuarine predator, mulloway Argyrosomus japonicus, predicted to continue under future warming scenarios

Warming waters in southeastern Australia have contributed to increasing growth rates of an estuarine top predator (Argyrosomus japonicus). We developed a near 4-decade long biochronology using otoliths, which spanned 12 degrees of latitude and included almost 10000 annual growth increments to uncover the drivers of growth for the species. Linear mixed models were able to partition biological, temporal, and environmental factors to determine which factors best explained the species growth record throughout southeastern Australia between 1980 and 2018. Results also suggested evidence of fishing selection pressures present in the sample, with possible management implications.


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