Year

2007

Degree Name

Master of Science by Research

Department

School of Biological Sciences

Abstract

Baited remote underwater video (BRUV) is becoming an increasing popular tool for examining reef fish assemblages in depths less than 100m. This sampling technique is relatively new in the literature and several gaps remain to be filled. Scientists using this technique have selected bait based on results from trapping experiments. Therefore the first objective of the study was to compare commonly used baits and test if different fish species and fish assemblages were recorded. I planned to apply results from the first study towards further research using BRUV. Management at Jervis Bay Marine Park, located in southeast Australia, have applied a strategy to protect a comprehensive and representative sample of local habitats and associated flora and fauna. In doing so, sanctuary “no take” zones have been put in place. Surprisingly, there are no patch reefs afforded this protection. My second objective was to provide the Jervis Bay Marine Park management with baseline data on deep patch reef locations and to draw comparisons between deep patch, deep coastal, and shallow coastal reefs. I compared three different baits (pilchard, abalone, and urchin) at three locations in two separate years. A total of 63 “drops” (30 min recordings) were conducted in two years and a total of 47 species were recorded. There were no differences in the diversity and abundance of fish recorded while baited with pilchard and abalone. In contrast, in the second year of sampling I detected a greater species richness and abundance using pilchard, compared to urchin, at most locations (p0.05), although the presence of several rarely encountered species including Bodianus unimaculatus, Coris sandageri, Meuschenia scaber, Caesioperca lepidoptera, and Eubalichthys mosaicus were recorded in the deep patch reef habitat. I concluded that the inclusion of the deep habitat in the sanctuary zoning plan is important for protecting fish biodiversity. By generating permanent baseline data, this study aims to assist Marine Park management in making sound decisions on future zoning plans.

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