The most comprehensive survey of fish larvae in Cockburn Sound has now uncovered more than 40,000 of the tiny creatures from at least 50 families.
Researchers started monthly surveys in September 2021 as part of the WAMSI Westport Marine Science Program.
Researcher Jake Nilsen, from Curtin University, said at least 128 unique taxa had been identified, including pink snapper, whiting, trevallies and flatheads. Sea garfish and yellowfin whiting were recorded for the first time.
Another first-time recording was larvae of the highly sought after King George whiting.
Mr Nilsen said the King George whiting (pictured) was a particularly interesting find given the species typically spawns further offshore.
DNA techniques are also being used for species that are more challenging to identify and where there is limited information on their larval stages, including species of whiting and baitfish.
Now fieldwork has been completed, researchers will focus on analysing the vast dataset to identify patterns of when and where fish use Cockburn Sound during their larval stages.
Researchers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development are also working on the fish larvae project by providing research vessels and staff for the sampling.