Research has indicated that mangrove and saltmarsh habitat are important habitats for wildlife including many species of fish and crustaceans. These mosaic wetlands are also important as nursery sites for juvenile fish and crustaceans including many commercial species linked to Moreton Bay.
These fish and crustaceans are regarded as nekton. This term is defined as any organism that can actively swim or move independent of tides and currents associated with various waterways.This is an important definition in terms of analysing their use of saltmarsh and mangrove habitats. It is assumed that they generally actively seek out such habitats.
In many estuary fish sampling projects, scientists use tow nets and trawls to sample nekton. They are generally dragged or towed along the bottom where they can capture fish and crustaceans. This works well in areas like the intertidal flats, including mudflats and seagrass beds. However in some estuary habitat areas such as mangrove and saltmarsh the hard structure of the vegetation prevents these types of nets from working.
Another method of sampling involves setting up fyke nets which are stationary and attached to the substrate. These nets use the flow of tidal waters to capture nekton. This allows scientists to identify nekton which use the habitat, monitor their populations during the year and even compare species across different types or conditions of habitats.