John Morrongiello

John Morrongiello
University of Melbourne | MSD · School of BioSciences

PhD

About

56
Publications
12,848
Reads
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1,423
Citations
Additional affiliations
November 2010 - June 2014
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Position
  • Researcher
February 2007 - October 2011
Monash University (Australia)
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (56)
Article
Full-text available
Aim The negative correlation between temperature and body size of ectothermic animals (broadly known as the temperature-size rule or TSR) is a widely observed pattern, especially in aquatic organisms. Studies have claimed that TSR arises due to decreased oxygen solubility and increasing metabolic costs at warmer temperatures, whereby oxygen supply...
Article
Fishing and climate change are profoundly impacting marine biota through unnatural selection and exposure to potentially stressful environmental conditions. Their effects, however, are often considered in isolation, and then only at the population level, despite there being great potential for synergistic selection on the individual. We explored ho...
Article
Historically, the differences in dispersal behaviour between individuals within a species has largely been ignored. Instead, we tend to assume all individuals within a population express similar phenotypes. However, evidence is growing for the importance of intraspecific variability in dispersal propensity and how this variability may influence pop...
Article
Environmental change often combined with selective harvesting has profound and diverse impacts on marine fish populations. Unlocking the biological consequences of these effects on wild fish is notoriously challenging, especially in highly productive but naturally variable systems with uncertain futures such as Eastern Boundary current systems. Her...
Article
Biogeochemical tracers found in the hard parts of organisms are frequently used to answer key ecological questions by linking the organism with the environment. However, the biogeochemical relationship between the environment and the biogenic structure becomes less predictable in higher organisms as physiological processes become more complex. Here...
Article
Full-text available
Marine fish populations commonly exhibit low-frequency fluctuations in biomass that can cause catch volatility and thus endanger the food and economic security of dependent coastal societies. Such variability has been linked to fishing intensity, demographic processes and environmental variability, but our understanding of the underlying drivers re...
Article
1. Directional or stabilising selection should drive the expression of a dominant movement phenotype within a population. Widespread persistence of multiple movement phenotypes within wild populations, however, suggests that individuals that move (movers) and those that do not (residents) can have commensurate performance. 2. The costs and benefits...
Article
Global warming and fisheries harvest are significantly impacting wild fish stocks, yet their interactive influence on population resilience to stress remains unclear. We explored these interactive effects on early-life development and survival by experimentally manipulating the thermal and harvest regimes in 18 zebrafish (Danio rerio) populations o...
Article
Fisheries harvest has pervasive impacts on wild fish populations, including the truncation of size and age structures, altered population dynamics and density, and modified habitat and assemblage composition. Understanding the degree to which harvest-induced impacts increase the sensitivity of individuals, populations and ultimately species to envi...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between growth and sexual maturation is central to understanding the dynamics of animal populations which exhibit indeterminate growth. In sequential hermaphrodites, which undergo post-maturation sex change, the size and age at which sex change occurs directly affects reproductive output and hence population productivity. However,...
Article
Full-text available
The size and age at which individuals mature is rapidly changing due to plastic and evolved responses to fisheries harvest and global warming. Understanding the nature of these changes is essential because maturity schedules are critical in determining population demography and ultimately, the economic value and viability of fisheries. Detecting ma...
Article
In the World's rivers, alteration of flow is a major driver of biodiversity decline. Global warming is now affecting the thermal and hydrological regimes of rivers, compounding the threat and complicating conservation planning. To inform management under a non-stationary climate we must improve our understanding of how flow and thermal regimes inte...
Article
Full-text available
Horizon scanning is an increasingly common strategy to identify key research needs and frame future agendas in science. Here, we present the results of the first such exercise for the field of sclerochronology, thereby providing an overview of persistent and emergent research questions that should be addressed by future studies. Through online corr...
Article
The complexity and spatio‐temporal scale of populations’ dynamics influence how populations respond to large‐scale ecological pressures. Detecting and attributing synchrony (i.e. temporally coincident fluctuations in populations’ parameters) is key as synchronous populations can become more vulnerable to stochastic events that can affect the viabil...
Article
Full-text available
Analysis of growth increments in the hard parts of animals, e.g. fish otoliths, can be used to assess how organisms respond to variability in environmental conditions. In this study, mixed-effects models were applied to otolith data simulated for two hypothetical fish populations with assumed biological parameters and known growth response to envir...
Article
Stock enhancement is an important tool used to rebuild depleted fish populations or enhance recreational fishing. Hatchery-reared individuals can express trait differences, such as growth, which may affect later survival. However, there is little understanding of how early life growth variation affects stocking success. We examined early life growt...
Article
Natural river floodplains are among Earth's most biologically diverse and productive ecosystems but face a range of critical threats due to human disturbance. Understanding the ecological processes that support biodiversity and productivity in floodplain rivers is essential for their future protection and rehabilitation. Fish assemblage structure o...
Article
Full-text available
Diadromy is a form of migration where aquatic organisms undergo regular movements between fresh and marine waters for the purposes of feeding and reproduction. Despite having arisen in independent lineages of fish, gastropod molluscs and crustaceans, the evolutionary drivers of diadromous migration remain contentious. We test a key aspect of the ‘p...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the influence of extrinsic factors such as hydrology and hydraulics on recruitment provides essential insight to inform management of fish populations. The critically endangered silver perch Bidyanus bidyanus is a long-lived, potamodromous pelagophil endemic to Australia's Murray-Darling Basin. Declines of this species are often attri...
Article
Full-text available
Aim The negative correlation between temperature and body size of ectothermic animals (broadly known as the temperature‐size rule or TSR) is a widely observed pattern, especially in aquatic organisms. Studies have claimed that the TSR arises due to decreased oxygen solubility and increasing metabolic costs at warmer temperatures, whereby oxygen sup...
Article
A fundamental characteristic of calcified structures commonly used for direct age estimation in animals is that new material is accreted cumulatively and preserved across ontogeny, thus allowing growth marks to be reliably observed and counted. Direct age estimation in crustaceans has been problematic due to molting of calcified structures across o...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual ornaments found only in females are a rare occurrence in nature. One expla- nation for this is that female ornaments are costly to produce and maintain and, therefore, females must trade-off resources related to reproduction to promote or- nament expression. Here, we investigate whether a trade-off exists between female ornamentation and f...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sexual ornaments found only in females are a rare occurrence in nature. One explanation for this is that female ornaments are costly to produce and maintain and, therefore, females must trade-off resources related to reproduction to promote ornament expression. Here, we investigate whether a trade-off exists between female ornamentation and fecundi...
Article
Full-text available
The development of effective strategies to restore the biological functioning of aquatic ecosystems with altered flow regimes requires a detailed understanding of flow-ecology requirements, which is unfortunately lacking in many cases. By understanding the flow conditions required to initiate critical life history events such as migration and spawn...
Article
Full-text available
European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) is one of the most commercially important flatfish species in the North Sea. Yet, the environmental factors that affect the growth of plaice remain unresolved. Here we examine the drivers of plaice growth variation by using a large archive of otoliths from female plaice collected in the northeastern part of t...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the influence of river hydrology and connectivity on the migration and recruitment of diadromous fishes is fundamental for species management and conservation. We investigated the downstream catadromous spawning migration of adult female congolli (Pseudaphritis urvillii) using acoustic telemetry, and subsequent juvenile recruitment, i...
Article
Because fish are sensitive indicators of flow alteration, a detailed knowledge of the response of fish to flows is crucial to the sound management of regulated river systems. Estuary perch are a catadromous, long-lived, estuarine dependent percichthyid. Here, we relate otolith-derived recruitment and growth histories of individuals of the species i...
Article
Flow regimes have been fundamentally altered in many of the world’s river systems. There is a need to restore components of natural flow variability to protect freshwater biodiversity. The Australian bass is a long-lived, catadromous percichthyid endemic to coastal drainages of south-eastern Australia. Little is known of the timing and magnitude of...
Article
Full-text available
Human-driven climate change and habitat modification are negatively impacting coastal ecosystems and the species that reside within them. Uncovering how individuals of key species respond to environmental influences is crucial for effective and responsive coastal resource and fisheries management. Here, using an otolith based analysis, we recreated...
Article
Full-text available
Fish species that have no commercial or recreational value are often overlooked in conservation management, despite serious threats to their long-term future. This can be termed the 'small threatened freshwater fishes' paradigm. Population viability analysis (PVA) is a useful technique to assess threatened species and conservation management option...
Article
Full-text available
There are strong conceptual links between riparian zones and freshwater fish via riparian influences on water quality, habitat quality and availability, and trophic dynamics. Many of the world's riparian zones are, however, severely degraded, and the key functions they provide for fish are lost or compromised. In response to their ongoing degradati...
Article
Full-text available
Humans are altering the environment at an unprecedented rate. Although behavioural plasticity has allowed many species to respond by shifting their ranges to more favourable conditions, these rapid environmental changes may cause 'evolutionary traps', whereby animals mistakenly prefer resources that reduce their fitness. The role of evolutionary tr...
Article
Detailed understanding of flow-ecology requirements for aquatic biota underpins the use of environmental flows as an effective restoration tool in regulated rivers. Flow recommendations, however are often overly simplistic and insufficient to provide the necessary environmental requirements for these biota. This is often due to failure to gain and...
Article
Evidence is accumulating that many marine ectotherms are undergoing rapid changes in their life-history characteristics. These changes have been variously attributed to fisheries-induced evolution, inhibited adult growth rate due to oxygen limitation at higher temperatures, and plastic responses to density dependence or changes in ocean productivit...
Article
Full-text available
Fatty acids are among the least understood nutrients in marine environments, despite their profile as key energy components of food webs and that they are essential to all life forms. Presented here is a novel approach to predict the spatial-temporal distributions of fatty acids in marine resources using generalized additive mixed models. Fatty aci...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Barred galaxias (Galaxias fuscus) is a small, nationally threatened, native fish endemic to the Goulburn River system in southeastern Australia and predation by alien trout is the primary cause of the species decline. Conservation management over the past 20 years has focused on protecting populations by constructing or modifying instream barriers...
Article
ABSTRACT: Estuarine fish live in a highly dynamic environment where recruitment variability is a key determinant of population trajectory. Environmental requirements for successful recruitment may differ between co-occurring species, and therefore species may be advantaged or disadvantaged under climate change. Recruitment variability in black brea...
Article
Growth is a fundamental biological process, driven by a multitude of intrinsic (within-individual) and extrinsic (environmental) factors, that underpins individual fitness and population demographics. Focussing on the comprehensive information stored in aquatic and terrestrial organism hard parts, we develop a series of increasingly complex hierarc...
Article
How individuals respond to environmental change determines the strength and direction of biological processes like recruitment and growth that underpin population productivity. Ascertaining the relative importance of environmental factors can, however, be difficult given the numerous mechanisms through which they affect individuals. This is especia...
Article
Spawning migration by freshwater eels to their marine spawning grounds is widely considered to be direct and rapid; however, emerging evidence suggests that eel migratory behaviour is more complex than previously thought, with potential implications for eel conservation and management.Over a 5-year period, we tagged 97 yellow-phase short-finned eel...
Article
We use a novel proxy (growth rates of long-lived deep-water fish, orange roughy) to reconstruct inferred water temperatures of intermediate water masses in both Northern and Southern hemispheres since the mid-1800 s. The data are consistent with instrumental records showing long-term warming in the northern hemisphere, but also indicate decadal var...
Article
Full-text available
The Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica) is a threatened fish species that inhabits rivers and impoundments in south-eastern Australia. Previous studies have shown that Macquarie perch in impoundments exhibit synchronised upstream spawning migrations to shallow, fast-flowing habitats in the lower reaches of inflowing streams. There has been lit...
Article
Full-text available
Whilst changes in freshwater assemblages along gradients of environmental stress have been relatively well studied, we know far less about intraspecific variation to these same stressors. A stressor common in fresh waters worldwide is leachates from terrestrial plants. Leachates alter the physiochemical environment of fresh waters by lowering pH an...
Article
Full-text available
Historical evidence provides essential context for models predicting the biological impacts of climate change. Such long-term data sets are relatively common for terrestrial taxa and environments, but sparse for aquatic systems. Aquatic biochronologies -- generated from information recorded in the hard parts of fish, molluscs and corals that are ar...
Article
1. Maternal reproductive investment is thought to reflect a trade-off between offspring size and fecundity, and models generally predict that mothers inhabiting adverse environments will produce fewer, larger offspring. More recently, the importance of environmental unpredictability in influencing maternal investment has been considered, with some...
Thesis
Full-text available
Life history theory facilitates an understanding of how traits, evolved or expressed under varying environmental conditions, affect the fitness of individuals, populations and species. An individual’s phenotype is comprised of a series of traits that govern growth, survival and reproduction, and environmental gradients provide a valuable context wi...
Article
1. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) can induce lethal and sub-lethal effects in exposed biota via hypoxic blackwater events and the toxicity of leached compounds. Little is known of how DOC exposure affects fish reproduction despite the fact that its release can coincide with spawning-associated flow pulses. 2. River red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis...
Article
Full-text available
Freshwater environments and their fishes are particularly vulnerable to climate change because the persistence and quality of aquatic habitat depend heavily on climatic and hydrologic regimes. In Australia, projections indicate that the rate and magnitude of climate change will vary across the continent. We review the likely effects of these change...
Article
Full-text available
Applying uniform population models and management strategies to widespread species can be ineffective if populations exhibit variable life histories in response to local conditions. Galaxias maculatus, one of the world's most widely distributed fish species, occurs in a broad range of habitats and is highly adaptable, making it an ideal species for...
Article
Visual signals play a vital role in many animal communication systems. Signal design, however, often varies within species, raising evolutionarily important questions concerning the maintenance of phenotypic diversity. We analysed nuptial colour variation within and among nine populations of southern pygmy perch (Nannoperca australis Günther) along...
Article
Climate change is expected to negatively impact many freshwater environments due to reductions in stream-flow and increases in temperature. These conditions, however, can already be found today in areas experiencing significant drought; current observations of species' responses to droughts can be used to make predictions about their future respons...
Article
Densities of silver perch Bidyanus bidyanus eggs drifting in the Murray River, Australia, suggested a peak spawning time between 2100 and 0100 hours, and a propensity to drift in higher densities near shore and at the bottom of the water column. The results highlight the need to consider such spatial and temporal patterns when estimating species-sp...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
I'm exploring potential synergies between fishing and oceanic warming. I have found that whilst the average thermal reaction norm of fish in the two periods (pre and post fishing) remains the same, the diversity of individual thermal reaction norms is much reduced post fishing. The distribution of thermal reaction norms over the two periods is very similar to that expected under stabilising selection.
All the literature I have found to date on the topic focusses on the population-level manifestation of fishing and climate (e.g. fishing increasing the sensitivity of recruitment to environmental variation due to age truncation). I'm thinking the pattern I observe at the individual level might be caused by some sort of density-dependent trait optimisation whereby in the pre fishery period biotic processes (i.e. competition) dominate, whereas after the onset of fishing, competition is reduced and abiotic factors dominate. Could someone suggest any relevant literature in the marine or terrestrial realms that deals with thermal (or other) traits in this context?

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
In a human-altered marine environment, fragmented and subjected to unprecedented climate change, planning sustainable strategies for development requires to understand the distribution of marine biodiversity and how its variations impact ecosystem functioning and the evolution of species. Functional Connectivity characterizes the migratory flows of organisms in the landscape. As such, it determines the ecological and evolutionary interdependency of populations, and ultimately the fate of species and ecosystems. Gathering effective knowledge on Marine Functional Connectivity (MFC) can therefore improve predictions of environmental change impacts and help refine management and conservation strategies for the Seas. This is challenging though, because marine ecosystems are particularly difficult to access and survey. Currently, >50 institutions investigate MFC in Europe, by using complementary methods from multiple research fields to describe the ecology and genetics of marine species. SEA-UNICORN aims at coordinating their research to unify the varied approaches to MFC and integrate them under a common conceptual and analytical framework for improved management of marine resources and ecosystems. For this, it will bring together a diverse group of scientists in order to collate existing MFC data, identify knowledge gaps, reduce overlap among disciplines, and devise common approaches to MFC. It will promote their interaction with connectivity theoreticians and ecosystem modelers, to facilitate the incorporation of MFC data into the projection models used to identify priorities for marine conservation. Lastly, it will forge strong working links between scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders to promote the integration of MFC knowledge into decision support tools for marine management and environmental policies.
Project
Sexual selection is responsible for the evolution of elaborate traits used to attract mates or compete with rivals. One aspect of sexual selection that is not well understood is the evolution of female-specific ornaments. The goal of this project is to understand how and why female ornamentation evolves, particularly in pipefishes (Syngnathidae) that display a wide diversity of female ornaments.
Project
The physical consequences of climate change in marine ecosystems trigger strong biological responses in marine organisms that include significant distribution range shifts or contractions, alterations in phenology and redistributions in marine productivity. Individual growth of fishes is an ideal parameter to measure organisms’ response to environmental change as it is sensitive to a range of drivers including direct temperature effects on physiology, food web changes and fishing intensity as well as playing a fundamental role in determining fitness. Long term observations of past variations of growth rate in nature can provide unprecedented information on biological responses on spatiotemporal scales not possible with other approaches. One means of obtaining such long term data is by examining fish otoliths that have been archived over the last decades by fisheries agencies worldwide due to their importance in stock assessment and fisheries management. Otoliths are natural recorders of environmental variability and growth (analogous to tree rings), and can be used to develop long term biochronologies (biological time series). Even though their relationship with environmental drivers such as changes in upwelling intensity, sea temperature, and global climate signals (e.g. Northern Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)) has been successfully demonstrated, biochronologies developed from otoliths are still a underutilized source of information for climate change studies in the marine environment. We aim to obtain a novel long term perspective and predictions on the impacts of climate change in marine ecosystems by developing biochronologies based on otolith increment widths of a suite of marine fish species, evaluating environmental and biotic drivers of growth variability and marine ecosystem productivity, and finally produce a ‘multiple lines of evidence’ approach integrating biological time series data of different taxa from the marine and terrestrial environments. The study will focus marine fish species, with longevities ranging from 20 to 80 years, for which otolith collections are available at the Portuguese Institute for the Ocean and Atmosphere (IPMA) and the University of Azores/ MARE – Azores Unit.