The Fish Ecology Collaborative Research Unit (FECRU) aims to foster rigorous science in freshwater fish ecology in Australia, and more specifically the Murray-Darling Basin.
It is establishing partnerships with government natural resource agencies interested in the management, conservation or restoration of fish populations and the ecosystems they occupy and other research centres such as the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre.
Its objectives are to:
1) Provide a hub for research collaboration that combines fundamental science with applied conservation, environmental and fisheries management.
2) Educate post-graduate (Honours, MSc. and PhD) students and support post-doctoral research and training.
3) Influence public awareness, management and conservation of fish populations and aquatic ecosystems through the dissemination of science.
The mission of the FECRU is to carry out rigorous and independent science, underpinned by ecological concepts, to help address the most challenging problems related to the management and conservation of fish and aquatic ecosystems.
Research undertaken by the unit will be expected to improve our knowledge of the ecosystem role of fish, so that management, conservation and restoration strategies are based on rigorous scientific evidence, with a view to long-term sustainability.
The unit will establish co-funded collaborative research projects between government natural resource management agencies and researchers at CSU. Projects will be developed and undertaken by post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers in collaboration with academic staff at CSU and a state or Commonwealth government partner.
Projects of mutual interest to CSU and partners are expected to traverse fundamental and applied research themes focusing on fish in the broad areas of ecology, restoration fisheries management, biodiversity conservation, environmental monitoring,
management or assessment.
By virtue of CSU's inland geography and research track-record, many projects will focus on freshwater systems in the Murray-Darling Basin. However, research that will generate broadly applicable and fundamental new insights, regardless of geographic area, will receive priority.
|River regulation and management||Ecosystem processes|
|Environmental management and |
|Environmental flows||Dispersal, connectivity and|
|Restoration, baselines and reference |
|Life history and functional traits|
|Invasive species management||Early life history|
|Biodiversity conservation||Population ecology|
|Commercial fisheries||Historical ecology|
|Dr Paul Humphries||30 years fish ecology experience.|
Interests: flow ecology relationships, early life history, historical ecology
|Dr R Keller Kopf |
|12 years fish ecology experience.|
Interests: fisheries science, fish biology, ecosystem processes
|Dr Nicole McCasker |
Post-doctoral research fellow
|13 years fish ecology experience.|
Interests: early life history, recruitment, flow-ecology relationships
|Dr Kevin Warburton||Fish behaviour, stream ecology, Freshwater research news letter|
|Prof Nick Bond|
Professor of Freshwater Ecology & Direct, Ctr Freshwater Ecosystems
|Ecological modelling, effects of hydro-climate variability on river ecosystems, river ecology and restoration|
|Dr Rick Stoffels|
|Ecology of riverine animals; ecological modelling; physiological ecology.|
Experimental dispersal of nase in the River Danube, Austria.(On-going) Humphries, P., Keckeis, H, University of Vienna, Habersack, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
Stuffed Murray Cod in Pubs. (2017-2020) Humphries, P., McCasker, N., Kopf, R. & O'Connell, M. (PhD student), MDBA Scholarship grant, $45,000
Barmah-Millewa midden fish study. Humphries, P. Partners the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation. (2011-2015) Living Murray Program, MDBA, $67,168
Conceptualisation of flow-recruitment relationships for riverine fisheries. Foundation activities for the Fish Theme of Environmental Water Knowledge Research (EWKR). (2016) Humphries, P., McCasker, N., & Kopf, R.K. MDFRC, $117,732
Fecundity and egg quality of dusky flathead in East Gippsland, Kopf, RK & Humphries, P. (2014-2105) Victoria. Department of Environment and Primary Industries. $49,639 Report
Invasive species and river regulation turn fish community food webs upside down. Kopf, R.K., Humphries P, McCasker N et al. ILWS Research Centre Fellowship
Modelling dispersal patterns of fish larvae in a large river. Project team: Hubert Keckeis (University of Vienna), Michael Tritthart, Hubert Habersack (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences) and Paul Humphries (2011-13), Austrian Science Fund Project details
Understanding historic fish populations in the Murray River, Humphries, P. (2015-2018), Murray Darling Basin Authority, $27,273
VEFMAP Fish Data Analysis - Part B: Analysis on existing fish data (2008-2014) Humphries, P., Kopf, R.K. & McCasker, N. (2015) Goulburn Broken CMA, $9,800
Where have all the fish gone, and can they come back? Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS). Humphries, P., McCasker, N., and Kopf, R.K. (2012-2017) in collaboration with researchers from Griffith University, CSIRO, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Monash University, Charles Darwin University, Murray Darling Basin Authority Project details
McGinness, H., Paton, A., Gawne, B., King, A., Kopf, R.K., MacNally, R. & McInerney P. (2019)The effects of fish kills on fish consumers and other water dependent fauna: exploring the potential impact of mass mortality of carp in Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF19035
Kopf, R.K., Boutier, M., Finlayson, C.M., Humphries, P., Kingsford, R., Marshall, J., Thresher, R.&
Vanderplasschen, A. (2019) Biocontrol in Australia: can a carp herpesvirus deliver effective and safe restoration of rivers and wetlands?Biological Invasions: 1-14.
Boutier, M., Donohoe, O., Kopf, R.K., Humphries, P., Becker J., Marshall, J.C., Vanderplasschen, A. (2019) Biocontrol of carp: the Australian plan does not stand up to a rational analysis of safety and efficacy. Frontiers in Microbiology 10: 882.
Kopf, R. K., Humphries, P., Bond, N. R., Sims, N. C., Watts, R. J., Thompson, R. M., Hladyz, S., Koehn, J.D., King, A.J., McCasker, N.,McDonald, S. (2018) Macroecology of fish community biomass-size structure: effects of invasive species and river regulation. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2017-0544
Marshall, J., Davison, A. J., Kopf, R. K., Boutier, M., Stevenson, P., & Vanderplasschen, A. (2018) Biocontrol of invasive carp: Risks abound. Science, 359: 877-877.
Svozil D., Kopf R.K., Watts R.J., & Nichols N. (2018) Temperature-specific larval growth and survival differences among populations of Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii). Marine and Freshwater Research. https://www.publish.csiro.au/MF/justaccepted/MF18178
Kopf, R.K., Nimmo, D.G., Humphries, P., Baumgartner, L., Bode, M., Bond, N., Byrom, A.E., Cucherousset, J., Keller, R.P, King, A.J., McGinness, H., Moyle, P.B., & Olden, J.D. (2017) Confronting the risks of large-scale invasive species control. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 1 0172: 1-4
Kopf, R. K., Shaw, C. & Humphries, P. (2017) Trait-based prediction of extinction risk of small-bodied freshwater fishes. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12882
Kingsford, R.T., Mac Nally, R. King, A.J., Walker, K.F., Bino, G., Thompson, R., Wassens, S. & Humphries, P. (2015) A commentary on 'Long-term ecological trends of flow-dependent ecosystems in a major regulated river basin', by Matthew J. Colloff, Peter Caley, Neil Saintilan, Carmel A. Pollino and Neville D. Crossman. Marine and Freshwater Research, 66:9708-980.
Humphries, P., Kumar, S. and Lake, P.S. (2015). Engineered artificial flooding: more questions than answers. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13: 242-243.
Kopf, R.K., Finlayson, C.M, Humphries, P., Hladyz, S. & Sims, N. (2015) Anthropocene baselines: assessing change and managing biodiversity in human-dominated aquatic ecosystems. BioScience 8: 798-811.
McCasker, N., Humphries, P., Meredith, S. & Klomp, N. (2014) Contrasting Patterns of Larval Mortality in Two Sympatric Riverine Fish Species: A Test of the Critical Period Hypothesis. PLoS ONE 9(10): e109317. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0109317
Humphries, P., Keckeis, H. & Finlayson, B. (2014) The river wave concept: integrating river ecosystem models. BioScience. doi:10.1093/biosci/biu130
Kopf, S., Humphries, P. & Watts, R (2014) Ontogeny of critical and prolonged swimming performance for the larvae of six species of Australian freshwater fish. Journal of Fish Biology. 84: 1820-1841.
Lechner, A., Keckeis, H., Schludermann, E., Humphries, P., McCasker, N. & Tritthart, M. (2014) Hydraulic forces impact larval fish drift in the free flowing section of a large European river. Ecohydrology 7: 648-658.
Small, K., Kopf, R.K., Watts, R.J., & Howitt, J. (2014) Hypoxia, blackwater and fish kills: experimental lethal oxygen thresholds in juvenile predatory lowland river fishes. PLOS ONE 9(4), e94524 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0094524
Lechner, A., Keckeis, H., Schludermann, E.,Loisl, F., Humphries, P., Glas, M., Tritthart, M. & Habersack, H. (2013). Shoreline configurations affect dispersal patterns of fish larvae in a large river. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fst139
Whiterod, N., Meredith, S. & Humphries, P. Refining the activity component of a fish bioenergetics model to account for swimming costs. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, DOI: 10.1080/10236244.2013.819155.
Humphries. P., Richardson, A., Wilson, G. & Ellison, T. (2013) River regulation and recruitment in a protracted-spawning riverine fish. Ecological Applications, 23(1), 2013, pp. 208–225
Winemiller, K.O., Humphries, P. & Pusey, B. (2016) Protecting apex predators. In:Conservation of Freshwater Fishes ( Closs, G., Krkosek,M. and Olden, J. Eds), Cambridge University Press.
Humphries, P. & Walker, K. (2013) The Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes: An Introduction. In: Humphries, P. and Walker, K. (eds.) The Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. pp. 1-23.
King, A.K., Humphries, P. & McCasker, N.G. (2013) Reproduction and Early Life History. In: Humphries, P. and Walker, K. (eds.) The Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. pp. 159-192.
Humphries, P. & Walker, K. (2013) Looking Ahead. In: Humphries, P. and Walker, K. (eds.) The Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. pp. 317-325.
Humphries, P. & Walker, K. (eds) (2013) Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes, CSIRO Publishing. http://www.publish.csiro.au/nid/21/pid/6515.htm
Humphries, P., Kopf, S., Kaminskas,T., Keckeis, H., McCasker, N., Stoffels, R., Bond, N. & Watts, R. (2015) Integrating life history theory and dispersal in riverine fishes. Presented at the 39th Annual Larval Fish Conference, Vienna, July 12-17
Kopf, R.K. (2019) Murray-Darling basin trophic niche indicator. In Bond, N., Lester, R., Ryder, D., Thompson, R., Kopf, R.K. Murray-Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research Project. Food Webs Theme Report, Report prepared for the Department of the Environment and Energy, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office by La Trobe University, Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems (formerly Murray‒Darling Freshwater Research Centre).
Hicks, T,. Kopf, R.K., Humphries, P. (2015) Fecundity and egg quality of dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus) in East Gippsland, Victoria ILWS Report 94
Zampatti, B.P., Wilson, P.J., Baumgartner, L., Koster, W., Livore, J.P., McCasker, N., Thiem, J., Tonkin, Z., & Ye, Q. (2015) Reproduction and recruitment of golden perch (Macquaria ambigua ambigua) in the southern Murray-Dealing Basin in 2013-2014 : an exploration of river scale response, connectivity and population dynamics, SARDI Research Report Series No.820
Kopf, R.K., Humphries P, McCasker N. Why are there no (true) freshwater protected areas in Australia? in The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/why-are-there-no-true-freshwater-protected-areas-in-australia-32966
PhD Student CSU
Supervised by Dr Paul Humphries, Dr Nicole McCasker and Dr Michael Reid (UNE)
|The effects of flooding and drying on macroinvertebrate assemblages of temporary and permanent wetlands and how this relates to taphonomy and the palaeoecological record.|
ILWS PhD Scholarship Student CSU
Supervised by Dr Paul Humphries, Dr Keller Kopf, and Dr Nicole McCasker
|Trophy Murray Cod: taxidermied Murray Cod and environmental change in the Murray-Darling Basin|
|Luke McPhan |
PhD Student, UNSW
Supervised by Dr Kim Jenkins & Dr Paul Humphries
PhD Student CSU
Principal Supervisor Professor Robyn Watts, with Dr Keller Kopf & Dr Lee Baumgartner
Trait Divergence in river and reservoir populations of Australian smelt (Retropinna semoni)
|Luke Pearce |
MSc Student CSU
Supervised by Dr Paul Humphries & Professor Robyn Watts
|Conservation of southern pygmy perch (Nannoperca australis)|
|Tara Hicks |
Honours Student CSU
Supervised by Dr Keller Kopf & Dr Paul Humphries
|Effects of maternal body size and fatty acid profile on fecundity and egg quality of Dusky flathead, Platycephalus fuscus|
Larval Fish Conference
Continuing his long-term association with the University of Vienna, Paul was one of the organisers of the 39th Annual Larval Fish Conference held at the university in July 2015, where the paper Humphries, P., Kopf, S., Kaminskas,T., Keckeis,H., McCasker,N., Stoffels, R., Bond,N. & Watts,R. Integrating life history theory and dispersal in riverine fishes, was presented. While in Austria, Paul also ran a Masters Field Course and class.
Citizen Science - Stuffed Murray Cods in Pubs
This project, which got off the ground with a CSU media release in February last year, certainly generated a lot of media interest including a segment on the ABC's 7.30 Report on April 4.It took off with a Bang and now there almost 200 members in our facebook group, 122 locations of stuffed Murray cods and close to 150 fish, mostly in pubs and sporting clubs around the Murray-Darling Basin.
Freshwater Research News by adjunct Dr Kevin Warburton The newsletter's target audiences
are aquatic resource managers, educators or students interested in aquatic environments, people from organisations involved in environmental protection, and aquatic researchers keen to stay abreast of developments outside their specialist areas. It contains articles, using non-specialist language as much as possible, that summarises the background and significance of recently published research findings with special attention to novel ideas, new interpretations, and interdisciplinary connections involving the freshwater environment.
Why are there no true freshwater protected areas in Australia? Kopf, R.K., Humphries P, McCasker N. The Conversation on November 17, 2014