Oct 062014
 

Original story at PSNews online

A 2,000 kilometre project to help native fish species travel up the River Murray is to take out man-made obstacles along the river system.
Macquaria ambigua: Golden Perch or Yellowbelly.

Macquaria ambigua: Golden Perch or Yellowbelly.

The $70 million Sea to Hume fishway program near Waikerie in South Australia's Riverland includes 17 fishways designed to help native fish species navigate major weirs and barrages.

The Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter said the new fishways would help to increase the population and distribution of more than 25 species of native fish such as Murray cod and golden perch.

"While locks, weirs and barrages play an important role, mainly in the navigation of boats through different sections of the river, they restrict the natural movement of some native fish," Mr Hunter said. Continue reading »

Sep 162014
 

Original story at ABC News

Three-quarters of the trash found off Australian beaches is plastic, a new study says, warning that the rubbish is entangling and being swallowed by wildlife.
Litter impacts wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, with 43 per cent of seabirds from study discovered with plastic in their gut.

Litter impacts wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, with 43 per cent of seabirds from study discovered with plastic in their gut.

Researchers surveyed the vast Australian coastline at intervals of about 100 kilometres, compiling the world's largest collection of marine debris data, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said.

"We found about three-quarters of the rubbish along the coast is plastic," CSIRO scientist Denise Hardesty said.

"Most is from Australian sources, not the high seas, with debris concentrated near cities."

The report, part of a three-year marine debris research and education program developed by Earthwatch Australia with CSIRO and energy group Shell, found there were two main drivers of the pollution - littering and illegal dumping.

Rubbish found included glass and plastic bottles, cans, bags, balloons, pieces of rubber, metal and fibreglass, as well as fishing gear and other items lost or discarded in or near the sea.

The report said this marine debris not only posed a navigation hazard but could smother coral reefs, transport invasive species, harm tourism and kill and injure wildlife.

It warned that litter impacted wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, but also indirectly via the chemicals it introduced into marine ecosystems.

Smaller turtle species in particular ingested the debris, possibly because soft, clear plastic resembled its natural prey jellyfish. Continue reading »

Sep 122014
 
ANGFA QLD Logo
ANGFA QLD LogoThe election of committee members will take place at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday December 12th 2014.

The committee must be chosen at each Annual General Meeting, so we need people to please nominate for the positions.  Please keep in mind that the term for each committee position is for one year, and that all committee members are expected to attend regular committee meetings.  People who serve on the committee do so on a voluntary basis.

Committee nominations are restricted to ANGFA Qld members.

Click here to log in or register.

Continue reading »

Sep 112014
 

Original story by Chrissy Arthur, ABC News

A thriving population of a small endangered fish has been discovered on a drought-affected outback Queensland cattle station.
Edgbaston goby eggs with their dad. Photo: Dr Adam Kerezsy

Edgbaston goby eggs with their dad. Photo: Dr Adam Kerezsy

The Edgbaston goby (Chlamydogobius squamigenus) was only known to live in natural artesian springs on Edgbaston Reserve near Aramac, north-east of Longreach.

But fish have now been discovered in a man-made artesian bore drain 40 kilometres away at the Ravenswood Station at Aramac.

Freshwater ecologist Dr Adam Kerezsy stumbled across the rarity when surveying local waters.

The fish do not swim very well, so Dr Kerezsy believed they arrived in a flood.

"It is endangered for a reason, and that's because it has got such a limited range," he said.

"It is just really handy to know that you've got a viable population here, as well as up there, because eventually you want to get all these things off an endangered list.  Continue reading »

Sep 052014
 

Original story by Cell Press via EurekAlert!

Archerfish hunt by shooting jets of water at unsuspecting insects, spiders, or even small lizards on leaves or twigs above, knocking them into the water below before gobbling them up. Now, a study in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on September 4 finds that those fish are much more adaptable and skillful target-shooters than anyone had given them credit for. The fish really do use water as a tool, the researchers say, making them the first known tool-using animal to adaptively change the hydrodynamic properties of a free jet of water. Continue reading »

Aug 292014
 

Original story by Renee Cluff, ABC News

A species of turtle native to the tip of Queensland's Cape York, the Jardine River turtle, has been officially sighted for the first time in 25 years.
Jardine River Turtle or painted turtle found in Cape York. Indigenous rangers and scientists have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989. Photo: Rick Gardiner

Jardine River Turtle or painted turtle found in Cape York. Indigenous rangers and scientists have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989. Photo: Rick Gardiner

It was thought the turtle may have been extinct, even though Indigenous locals had unofficially reported some sightings.

But Apudthama rangers and scientists from Origin Energy have trapped 24 Jardine River turtles, which were last documented in 1989.

Peta Standley from the Cape York Natural Resource Management Board said the turtles were found this week in two locations.

"They're a range of sizes and a range of sexes as well, so now the next thing is trying to get some tracking devices on them and work out where they're actually going to, because they think they're nesting at the moment," she said.

Indigenous head ranger Warren Strevens, who was involved in the rediscovery of the rare turtles in the region, said the reptiles were also known as painted turtles.

"They're striking to look at," he said.

"They're a slender turtle, on the side of their heads, especially around the cheek area they've got a bright yellow stripe.

"Then as you go under the throat and down the neck, they've got a red stripe there, and all over their chest plate is a crimson red that's almost fluorescent.

"There's no doubt they're a cute animal."

He said the finds were especially significant for local Aboriginal people.

"They're definitely sacred to one of the clan groups here," he said.

"They've got a storyline about that turtle as well, so there's a lot of significance in this find for the local region."

He said the finds were especially significant for local Aboriginal people.

"They're definitely sacred to one of the clan groups here," he said.

"They've got a storyline about that turtle as well, so there's a lot of significance in this find for the local region."

Aug 232014
 

Original story by  , Science Network WA

NEW research shows the evolution of Australian rainbowfish was most probably caused by geological changes in the region, with the divergence into separate species probably occurring much earlier than previously thought.
The research also suggests rainbowfishes may be older than experts previously thought and provides a new framework for the timing of divergence within the family. Photo: Nathan Rupert

The research also suggests rainbowfishes may be older than experts previously thought and provides a new framework for the timing of divergence within the family. Photo: Nathan Rupert

A joint research initiative between the Western Australian Museum, Brigham Young University, and National Evolutionary Synthesis Center recently finished the most comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of rainbowfishes ever undertaken, which included virtually all rainbowfish species.

The research explored the biogeographic history of rainbowfishes in Australia and New Guinea, to determine how the various species are related to one another and how the geography of the region relates to their evolution.

Dr Peter Unmack says the study shows geography is a key indicator as to whether any two species of rainbowfish are closely related.

“We had collected samples extensively over the years and I began conducting DNA sequencing and gradually built a bigger and bigger data set,” he says.

“The major finding was the importance of geographic distribution, which confirms previous findings but this was a lot more thorough in that we had virtually all of the species included.”

The research also suggests rainbowfishes may be older than experts previously thought and provides a new framework for the timing of divergence within the family.

“The central Highlands of New Guinea have been going up very fast for the past five million years, and researchers previously thought that when the mountain range began to rise, the fish in the north were isolated from the fish in the south,” Dr Unmack says.

“We have shown that rainbow fish actually diverged much earlier than that, perhaps as much as 17-20 million years before the north-south separation. The geology suggests things should be young, but the genetics says things may be older than predicted.

“There was a lot of introgression among the groups.

“Essentially, some of the species within the group have mixed with other species at particular times in the past and then separated, and so have a lingering genetic history that includes the other species they’ve mixed with.

“Species breeding with other species creates gene flow between species, and yet rainbowfishes still maintain themselves as separate entities.”

Researchers also documented 15-20 undescribed species of rainbowfish, with as many as 10 of these occurring in Australia.

“Rainbowfishes are a very important Australian group, one that we consider well studied, and that has been very actively worked on for 25 years, so to discover these undescribed species highlights how much work is still to be done on sorting out the taxonomy of Australian fishes.”