ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Conceptualisation of flow-recruitment relationships for riverine fishes. Foundation activities for the Fish Theme of Environmental & Water Knowledge Research (EWKR) (2016)


Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre, $117,732

Research Theme

Sustainable Water


Dr Paul Humphries, Dr Alison King (Charles Darwin University), Dr Keller Kopf, Dr Nicole McCasker and Dr Rick Stoffels (CSIRO/MDRFC) and Dr Brenton Zampatti (SARDI)


river ecosystem This project was part of Phase 2, the implementation component, of the Murray Darling Basin Environmental Water Knowledge and Research (EWKR) project which is being managed by the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre, and is funded by the Australian Government's Department of Environment.

The project involved a desktop literature review/conceptualisation, which used the Murray-Darling Basin as a case study. The project integrated river ecosystem models, fish life history theory, fish behaviour, physiology and recruitment into one model, as relevant to riverine fishes.

Specifically the project:

  • Explored the relevance of river ecosystem concepts for explaining patterns and processes in fish recruitment and population dynamics
  • Related current ideas and hypotheses about fish recruitment from all aquatic environments to rivers and riverine fishes
  • Investigated if and how physiological, behavioural and life-history traits are correlated, and how they interact with the key components of river ecosystems – and flow in particular- to contribute to population dynamics of fishes


Conference papers & proceedings - Institute for Land, Water and Society

Humphries, P., McCasker, N., Kopf, R.K, King, A., Zampatti, B., Stoffels, R. & Price, A. (2016) A conceptual synthesis of flow-recruitment relationships for riverine fishes. Presented at the Australian Society for Limnology Conference, Sept 26-30, Ballarat.

Presentation to the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation-Water planning, Ecology and Science Division in Brisbane, in February, 2017.


The key outcome from this project was a flow-fish recruitment model- a conceptual model which allows the prediction of the survival of young stages of fish under various flow scenarios in the Murray-Darling Basin. It has led to a three year on-ground data-collection project 'Relative importance of key recruitment drivers across multiple spatial scales and interaction with flow-reach scale.'


Dr Paul Humphries Email

Albury-Wodonga campus

March 2017