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Ecology of black-stripe minnow (Galaxiella nirostriata, Pisces: Galaxiidae) in remnant populations on the Swan Coastal Plain, Western Australia

The southwest of Western Australia is home to only ten native species of freshwater fish. Of those ten, eight are endemic and two of those species live in seasonal wetlands (most fish live where water is a permanent source). One of the seasonal species, the black-stripe minnow, Galaxiella nigrostriata, is currently known only to exist in three locations: Melaleuca Park near Perth, Kemerton near Bunbury and between Augusta and Albany. While the southern distribution mainly occurs within national parks, the two remnant populations are not as protected.

This study will look at what factors decide their habitat choice and ultimately what they require to survive. The information gathered will help direct the conservation and rehabilitation of wetlands for this unique species by understanding their ecological requirements. With a continuing drying climate and further pressures on the wetlands from development and groundwater extraction, research into this freshwater fish is of great importance. Wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain have a history of being filled, drained and/or degraded for agriculture, mining, urban sprawl and industrial uses.  There are four study components to this project: habitat and diet preferences, aestivation requirements and population genetic structure. The first three can be classed as the ecological requirements of the fish and the genetics component stands alone as an overall species management issue. Study results will provide information to help conserve this threatened species, direct wetland rehabilitation requirements on the mining project area and may be used to identify habitats likely to contain new populations.


Researchers

Mr Dave M. Galeotti
Dr Clint McCullough
Associate Professor Mark Lund
Kemerton Silica Sand Pty Ltd., Mr Mark Gell

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