Chronologies are developed from the otolith growth-increment widths of adult rock flathead (Platycephalus laevigatus) and longhead flathead (Leviprora inops) collected from three inter-connected embayments in temperate south-western Australia. Marginal increment trends on otoliths, in combination with the dendrochronological technique of crossdating, provide strong evidence that an opaque zone is formed annually in the otoliths of both species. Increment widths between opaque zones in the otoliths of individuals of P. laevigatus (maximum age 20 years) and L. inops (maximum age 21 years) were synchronised within and between species. The correlation between the two master otolith chronologies, i.e. mean standardised increment width for each year, was highly significant (P < 0.01). The master otolith chronology for each species was positively correlated with mean sea surface temperatures from 1 July to 30 June, which encompassed the austral summer when growth is typically greatest, and with mean monthly sea surface temperature between September and March. Leeuwin Current strength, which influences the biotic characteristics of some marine species on the south coast, has little influence on the pattern of otolith growth, presumably because the inter-connected embayments from which fish were obtained were partially enclosed. On the basis of the above data and the geographical distributions of P. laevigatus and L. inops, it is proposed that, while both species would grow faster with increasing temperature, the temperatures on the south coast are closer to the optimum for the former species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science