Australian Society For Fish Biology

Tony Miskiewicz

Dr Tony Miskiewicz

By Iain Suthers and Jeff Leis

Dr Anthony Gerard Miskiewicz, or “Miskie” is well known around Australia and the world for his expertise in temperate larval fish taxonomy, but also heavy metals and toxicity research with Sydney’s ocean outfalls.  Many from professors to students have benefited from his generosity in time and expertise. It says much about his motivations and priorities that he does not expect an authorship and sometimes he is only acknowledged in the resulting publications. 

Tony is a co-author of the temperate larval-fish biologist’s bible “Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification” by F (Pancho) Neira, A G (Tony) Miskiewicz and T (Tom) Trnski (1998).  He has a broad generalist knowledge of the morphology of all larval fishes – but he does have a particular interest in larval flatfish because “no-one else is looking at them”.  Many of us in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart or Sydney find the need for Miskie’s involvement, and all it takes is an airfare, and some accommodation to resolve many vials of larvae into data. He is also a keen volunteer participant in larval-fish field work research of others.

Miskie did his BSc and Honours at James Cook University before heading to University of New South Wales where he completed his PhD on larval fish in 1987, where there were no published guides to help him – he figured it out as he went.  His thesis “Taxonomy and ecology of fish larvae in Lake Macquarie and New South Wales coastal waters” is still consulted for illustrations of larvae and local knowledge, and has been cited in 43 publications.  His skills were particularly important with ichthyoplankton identification in the deep water ocean outfall monitoring program off Sydney. 

Tony has co-supervised many honours students over 3 decades, as well as the following luminaries of larval fish biology: at University of New South Wales - Dr Kim Smith ( now WA Fisheries); Dr Augy Syahailatua (now Director of the LIPI laboratory in Indonesia); Dr Thomas Mullaney; at Murdoch University – Dr Barbara Muhling (formerly at University of  Miami, now Princeton University); Dr David Holiday and present PhD students Valquiria Garcia (UNSW), Steven Hawes (University of Sydney), Adam Schultz (Flinders University).

Jeff Leis described Miskie as “a National Treasure”; Kim Smith said “He has been tireless in his support of AFSB, and especially the student members, for decades.  He has also been extraordinarily generous over that period in the amount of time he has given to students and other researchers in all states sharing his expertise, usually at his own expense.  And he has made an exceptional contribution to ichthyoplankton research in Australia”.  Miskie’s dedication to his science is so great that he times his annual holidays so he can attend the Larval Fish Conference, where ever in the world it is held (at his own expense!).  Miskie has served the Society for many years as conference organiser (e.g. 1995) and the coordinating judge of the International Travel Award; as a judge of student presentations and posters.

Miskie is currently Environment Planning Manager at Wollongong City Council where he has worked for 14 years and manages a team responsible for estuary and coastal management programs.  Prior to that, he worked for 12 years at Sydney Water. He maintains strong links with fisheries management, university and museum staff involved in larval fish studies around southern Australia and the fish section of the Australian Museum.

Tony is presently anticipating retirement from his day-job, so he can fully devote his time and enthusiasm to the taxonomy and biology of larval fishes.  We’d all welcome that.  His rigour and attention to detail in larval fish studies is breathtaking.  He’s a walking and talking encyclopaedia of larval fishes with especial expertise in our temperate waters.  He is a leading light for a recent AFMA funded project to use long-term trends in larval fish densities (an ichthyological climatology) to monitor the effects of climate change. 

Along the way, Miskie has published a goodly amount of cited work on both larval fishes and marine toxicology and pollution.  Google Scholar lists 43 entries for Miskie’s publications. These have been cited 743 times (giving an h-Index of 12), close to half of which are for the ‘bible’ (Neira, Miskiewicz and Trnski 1998) or Miskie’s chapters therein.  His more important publications are listed below.

Larval-fish biologists congratulate Miskie on his addition to the ASFB’s Ichthyology Hall of Fame, and thank him for his many contributions – past and future - to the community of Australian fish biologists.

Selected publications

Miskiewicz, A.G. (1989).  Family Monodactylidae. In: The Larvae of the Indo-Pacific Shorefishes, pp. 196-199. Eds: J.M. Leis and T. Trnski.  University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.

McLean, C., Miskiewicz, A.G. and Roberts, E.A. (1991).  Effect of primary treatment sewage outfalls on metal concentrations in the fish Cheilodactylus fuscus collected along the coast of Sydney, Australia.  Mar. Pollut. Bull. 22:134-140.

Fagan, P.W., Miskiewicz, A.G. and Tate, P.M. (1992).  An approach to monitoring sewage outfalls: a case study on the Sydney deepwater sewage outfalls.  Mar. Pollut. Bull. 25:172-180.

Gray, C.A., Otway, N.M., Laurenson, F.A., Miskiewicz, A.G. and Pethebridge, R.L. (1992).  Distribution and abundance of marine fish larvae in relation to effluent plumes from sewage outfalls and depth of water.  Mar. Biol. 113:549-559

Miskiewicz, A.G. and Gibbs, P.J. (1992).  Variability in organochlorine analysis in fish: an interlaboratory study and its implications for environmental monitoring and regulatory standards.  Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 23:45-53.

Miskiewicz, A.G. and Gibbs, P.J. (1994).  Organochlorine pesticides and hexachlorobenzene in tissues of fish and invertebrates caught near a sewage outfall.  Environ. Pollut. 84:269-277

Gibbs, P.J. and Miskiewicz, A.G. (1995).  Heavy metals in fish near a major primary sewage treatment plant outfall. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 30:667-674.

Miskiewicz, A.G., Bruce, B.D. and Dixon, P. (1996).  Distribution of tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix) larvae along the coast of New South Wales, Australia.  Mar. Freshwater Res. 47:331-336.

Juanes, F., Hare, J.A. and Miskiewicz, A.G. (1996).  Comparing early life history strategies of Pomatomus saltatrix: a global approach.  Mar. Freshwater Res. 47:365-379.

Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. and Trnski, T. (1998) (Editors).  Larvae of Temperate Australian Fishes: Laboratory Guide for Larval Fish Identification.  University of Western Australia Press.  (Contributed to 24 chapters in this book).

Gray, C.A. and Miskiewicz, A.G. (2000).  Larval fish assemblages in south-east Australian coastal waters: seasonal; and spatial structure.  Est. Coast and Shelf Sci. 50:549-570.

Miskiewicz, A.G. and Trnski, T. (2000): Berycidae (Redfishes, Alfonsinos, Nannygais). In: The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes: an identification guide to marine fish larvae (Fauna Malesiana Handbook 2), pp. 170-175. Eds: Leis, J.M. and Carson-Ewart, B.M., Brill, Leiden.

Miskiewicz, A.G. and Trnski, T. (2000): Hoplichthyidae (Ghost Flatheads or Spiny Flatheads). In: The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes: an identification guide to marine fish larvae, Fauna Malesiana Handbook 2, pp. 245-248. Eds: Leis, J.M. and Carson-Ewart, B.M., Brill, Leiden.

Miskiewicz, A.G., Baldwin, CC, Leis, J.M and Rennis, D.S. (2000): Callanthidae (Yellow-Fin Basses, Splendid Perches). In: The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes: an identification guide to marine fish larvae, Fauna Malesiana Handbook 2, pp. 280-284. Eds: Leis, J.M. and Carson-Ewart, B.M., Brill, Leiden.

Miskiewicz, A.G. (2000): Monodactylidae (Diamondfishes, Moonies, Fingerfishes). In: The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes: an identification guide to marine fish larvae, Fauna Malesiana Handbook 2, pp. 351-354. Eds: Leis, J.M. and Carson-Ewart, B.M., Brill, Leiden.

Walker, H.J. jr, Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. and Carson-Ewart, B.M. (2000): Kyphosidae (Rudderfishes, Sea Chubbs). In: The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes: an identification guide to marine fish larvae, Fauna Malesiana Handbook 2, pp. 466-469. Eds: Leis, J.M. and Carson-Ewart, B.M., Brill, Leiden.

Walker, H.J. jr, Miskiewicz, A.G. and Neira, F.J. (2000): Microcanthidae (Stripey). In: The larvae of Indo-Pacific coastal fishes: an identification guide to marine fish larvae Fauna Malesiana Handbook 2, pp. 470-473. Eds: Leis, J.M. and Carson-Ewart, B.M., Brill, Leiden.

Muhling, B.A., Beckley, L. E., Gaughan, D. J., Jones, C. M., Miskiewicz, A. G. and Hesp, S. A. (2008). Spawning, larval abundance and growth rate of Sardinops sagax off southwestern Australia: influence of an anomalous eastern boundary current. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser: 364: 156-167.

Kobayashi, T, Shiel, R.J., King, A.J. and Miskiewicz, A.G. (2009) Freshwater zooplankton: diversity and biology. In: Plankton: a Guide to their Ecology and Monitoring for Water Quality, pp: 149-172 Eds. IM Suthers and D Rissik, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Suthers, I.M., Dawson, M., Pitt, K. and Miskiewicz, A.G. (2009) Marine zooplankton: diversity and biology. In: Plankton: a Guide to their Ecology and Monitoring for Water Quality, pp: 173-214. Eds. IM Suthers and D Rissik, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

Mullaney, T.J., Miskiewicz, A.G., Baird, M.E., Burns P.T.P. and Suthers, I.M. (2011). Entrainment of larval fish assemblages from the inner shelf into the East Australian Current, and into the western Tasman Front. Fish. Oceanogr. 20: 434-447

McKinley, A., Miskiewicz, A., Taylor, M. and Johnston, E.L. (2011). An assessment of the impacts of metals contamination and anthropogenic habitat modification on estuarine larval fish assemblages in southern New South Wales, Australia. Environmental Pollution 159: 1499-1509.

Matis, P.A. Figueira, W.F, Suthers, I.M., Humphries, J, Miskiewicz, A. Colemans, R.A., Kellaher, B.P and Taylor M.D. (2014). Cyclonic entrainment? The ichthyoplankton attributes of three major water mass types generated by the separation of the East Australian Current: Ices Journal of Marine Science 71: 1696-1705.