Georgia Dwyer

Project The nutritional ecology of two-spined blackfish (Gadopsis bispinosus) and the river blackfish (G. marmoratus)
Candidate Georgia Dwyer
ContactG.Dwyer@latrobe.edu.au
Supervisor/sDr Rick Stoffels (CSIRO/MDFRC)
Dr Peter Pridmore (La Trobe University)
Dr Gavin Rees (CSIRO/MDFRC)
Dr Colin Smith (La Trobe University)
Funding Body La Trobe University & Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (2013 - 2014)
Duration February 2013 – February 2016

Summary

To date studies of nutritional ecology have mainly been directed at terrestrial invertebrates and vertebrates; although, the geometrical framework has recently been applied to omnivorousfish.  Most other nutritional research in fishes has focused on commercial aquaculture species, and there has been little concern for the mechanistic pathways by which nutrition affects wild, native fish population processes. The current study aims to use two native carnivorous species of the family Gadopsidae (Two-spined blackfish (Gadopsis bispinosus) and River blackfish (G. marmoratus)) to investigate the broader issue of nutrient regulation in a wild population of fishes.

Overall, I aim to use the project to answer the following:

-          Do blackfish select prey non-randomly?

-          Which nutrients are sought after?

-          Does this dietary selection confer a fitness advantage?

This research is important because it will address fundamental issues in nutritional ecology and because it will shed a light on the role of dietary adjustment to the health and survival of native Australian freshwater fishes. The latter should assist ecosystem managers to sustain Two-spined and River blackfish populations.