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Marine Fish Habitat Scholarships Announced

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AUSTRALIA - Young Queensland researchers are boosting our knowledge of fish habitats thanks to the assistance of a Queensland Government scholarship programme.

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The Marine Fish Habitat Scholarships Programme is funded by Fisheries Queensland and has been running since 2005 in recognition of the importance of marine fish habitat research for better fisheries management.

Senior fisheries scientist, Melissa Dixon congratulated this year's Marine Fish Habitat scholarship recipients, Michael Bradley and Jacob Tapp from James Cook University (JCU) and Jarrad Oxley from The University of Queensland (UQ).

"Marine fish habitats support food production for many dependent species as well as providing nursery and shelter for juvenile fish," Ms Dixon said.

"In turn, these habitats sustain the Indigenous, commercial and recreational fishing sectors.

"Each student has received a A$5500 scholarship to help with laboratory and field work costs to support their research on Queensland fish habitats," Ms Dixon said.

Michael Bradley's research is focusing on the importance of intertidal snags* as fish nurseries, and their role in compensating for loss of seagrass. He will conduct his research around the declared Fish Habitat Area at Hinchinbrook Island and surrounding creeks and beaches.

Marine plants such as mangroves are a vital part of fish habitats and a highly visible feature of the Queensland coastline. Jacob Tapp is undertaking research in north Queensland on the value of different mangrove zones to fisheries species and ecosystem processes.

Jarrad Oxley will complete his research on the importance of different nursery habitats to recruitment of adult snapper in southern Queensland. Jarrad's samples will be taken at various locations along Queensland's coast from Hervey Bay down to the Gold Coast, with a large majority taken from south east Queensland.

The research results will assist Fisheries Queensland to better understand and support the key roles fish habitats play in fisheries sustainability.