Physical habitat


conceptual diagram of physical habitat process

Small fish move with the tides to access mangrove areas, where they find protection, and to the salt marsh, where some feed (Connolly et al, 2006) Mangroves shade water and sediment, buffering temperature and blocking UV radiation, providing a habitat for other organisms (Hsieh, 1995)
Some fish move upstream and downstream, to fresh and marine water habitats at different stages of their life cycles to breed and spawn (Robins et al, 2006) Mangroves are important nursery areas for some juvenile fish and crustacean larvae (Blaber, 2000; Beck et al, 2001)
Water flow between wetland pools and estuaries during very high tides or run-off events allows fish to move between these habitats (Sheaves, et al 2006) Many organisms in estuarine wetlands live in burrows or on the sediment, including worms and microbes


  1. Beck, M.W., Heck, K.L., Able, K.W., Childers, D.L., Eggleston, D.B., Gillanders, B.M., Halpern, B., Hays C.G., Hoshino, K., Minello, T.J., Orth, R.J., Sheridan, P. F. and Weinstein, M.P. (2001) The identification, conservation and management of estuarine and marine nurseries for fish and invertebrates, BioScience, 51, 633-641.
  2. Blaber, S.J.M. 2000 Mangroves and Estuarine Dependence. In: Blaber, S.J.M. Tropical Estuarine Fishes: Ecology, Explitation and Conservation, Blackwell Science, Oxford, 185-201.
  3. Connolly, R.M., Currie, D.R., Danaher, K.F., Dunning, M., Melzer, A., Platten, J.R., Shearer, D., Stratford, P.J., Teasdale, P.R., Vandergragt, M. 2006 Intertidal wetlands of Port Curtis, an industrialised coastal city in central Queensland, Australia: ecological patterns and processes and their implications, Technical Report 43: CRC for Coastal Zone Estuary and Waterway Management, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
  4. Hsieh, H.L. 1995, Spatial and temporal patterns of polychaete communities in a subtropical mangrove swamp: influences of sediment and microhabitat, Marine Ecology Progress Series 127:157-167.
  5. Robins et al, 2006 [in press]
  6. Sheaves et al, 2006 [in press]