Oral Presentation Australian Society for Limnology Congress 2013

Water resource infrastructure and its potential as an anthropogenic refuge (#133)

Bryce T Halliday 1 , Rebecca E Lester 1 , Ty G Matthews 1
  1. School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Warrnambool, VIC, Australia

Permanent sources of natural water are expected to decline in the future under scenarios associated with climate change. Therefore, man-made water storages that can provide a permanent and stable water source may become refugia for fish. Presently, little is known about either fish or zooplankton assemblages in man-made water storages in south-west Victoria. This study forms part of a collaborative research project with Wannon Water, the local water authority. The aim of the study is to identify the distribution, diversity and abundance of fish and zooplankton that reside within potable and water reclamation plant (WRP) storages and compare these to assemblages from nearby natural water bodies such as small lakes and wetlands. The relationship between fish, zooplankton, physicochemistry and habitat characteristics of the three different storages types will also be explored. The fish assemblages were sampled using either boat or backpack electrofishing as well as fyke and box nets. Zooplankton populations were sampled using zooplankton tows. Preliminary findings showed that fish had variable abundance and species richness in both the natural and potable storages, but were absent from WRPs. There were no significant differences in zooplankton assemblages among the three water body types. This study highlights a previously undescribed freshwater anthropogenic refuge and may have implications for the future management of man-made water storages.