Locating faunal breaks in the nearshore fish assemblage of Victoria, Australia

Madhavi A. Colton, Stephen E. Swearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Marine communities are frequently biogeographically structured, despite the potential for dispersal. Previous research on a variety of marine taxa in south-eastern Australia has suggested that a biogeographic break occurs along the coastline of Victoria. However, little of this research has focussed on nearshore ichthyofauna and the location of the break remains debated. Using fish abundance measured by two methods: underwater visual census (UVC); and baited remote underwater video (BRUV) at six locations along the open coast of Victoria, we examined (1) whether there is sufficient concordance among species to indicate the presence of a faunal break; and if present (2) where any such breaks occur. Differences in assemblage composition between locations were tested with analyses of similarity and examination of residuals from regressions of pairwise dissimilarities against coastline distance. Data collected using UVC revealed two large faunal breaks co-located with a habitat discontinuity, the convergence of two currents and a thermal gradient. Data collected by BRUV revealed only a gradation of change across the study region. Greater understanding of the biogeographic structure of these communities will facilitate more effective management, especially in light of anticipated range shifts in response to global climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-231
Number of pages14
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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