Morphological predictors of swimming speed: a case study of pre-settlement juvenile coral reef fishes

Fisher, Rebecca and Hogan, J. Derek (2007) Morphological predictors of swimming speed: a case study of pre-settlement juvenile coral reef fishes. The Journal of Experimental Biology (JEB). pp. 2436-2443.

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    The swimming abilities of fishes are of vital importance to their ecology, and studies on fish swimming have been the focus of research for over a century. Here we explore the relationship between swimming ability and external body morphology, using data on U(crit) swimming speeds of 100 species of pre-settlement juvenile coral reef fishes (at the transition between the larval and adult habitats), comprising 26 different families from 5 orders. The taxonomic diversity of this methodologically consistent dataset provides a unique opportunity to examine the relationship between form and function in fish swimming across a broad taxonomic range. Overall, we found that a predictive model incorporating total length (TL), the square of caudal peduncle depth factor (CPDF(2)) and aspect ratio (AR) can be used to accurately predict swimming performance of a wide range of fish families, and was able to explain 69% of the variability in swimming performance of these pre-settlement juvenile fishes. The model was also able to successfully predict the swimming speed of an out-group salmonid species (Oncorhynchus mykiss). There was no evidence that the model fit differed among taxonomic groups, despite the inclusion of five different orders of fishes, suggesting that body morphology sufficiently explains the bulk of differences in swimming performance. Furthermore, the model appears to work equally well for fishes from the Great Barrier Reef and the Caribbean, and for families with different adult habitat associations and swimming modes. It remains to be determined how well the model predicts the swimming abilities of temperate species as well as adults of these same species. This model provides an invaluable means of predicting swimming abilities of pre-settlement juvenile fishes that are unable to be reared in the laboratory, do not perform well in swimming flumes or are unable to be captured live in the field.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
      Unique ID or DOI: 10.1242/jeb.004275
      Publisher: Company of Biologists
      Keywords: swimming, morphology, dispersal, behaviour
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACB) Marine
      (C) Ecosystems > (CB) Marine > (CBA) Coral Reefs
      (H) Protected Areas > (HD) Marine Reserve
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2014 09:57
      Last Modified: 25 Jul 2014 09:57

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