The intertidal zone is a transitional environment that undergoes daily environmental fluctuations as tides rise and fall. Relatively few fish species are adapted to endure the physiological pressures of this environment. This study focused on Bathygobius cocosensis (Gobiidae), a common intertidal fish in New South Wales, Australia. We investigated whether shore height impacted site fidelity, survival probability, fish size, and morphological traits with respect to tidal height. Mark-recapture methods were used over a five month period to determine if individuals in high shore pools had greater site fidelity; fish in high tide pools were more than twice as likely to be recaptured in their original pool than fish from low tide pools. High pool individuals were, on average, smaller with larger eyes and longer snouts relative to their size as compared to low pool individuals. We discuss several mechanisms that could cause the observed pattern in morphological variation. Ultimately, this study suggests that within species behaviour and morphology differ by tidal position for an intertidal fish.
|Publication status||Published - 28 Jul 2016|