Carbon is the basal building block for life on earth and contributes to the creation of different tissues in organisms. The aim of my project is to investigate the sources of carbon that generate growth and survival in larval fish. Larval fish represent an important link between trophic levels and an integral group of food web interactions in floodplain river ecosystems. The implementation of structures including dams, weirs, and diversions for irrigation purposes (regulation), have been shown to impact wetland and river ecosystem biodiversity negatively. Regulation is likely to disrupt the structure and linkages in freshwater food webs. The present study will use stable isotope analysis (SIA) and DNA: RNA ratios to investigate the fitness and growth of larval fish to young of year in regulated and unregulated floodplain rivers. By contrasting the origins of carbon in regulated and unregulated floodplain river systems, long term management and implementation of conservation efforts will be better informed to support freshwater ecosystems.
UNSW, Kensington 2052