Comparison of efficiency of direct observations by scuba diver and indirect observations via video camera for measuring reef-fish behaviour
The present study investigates how the humbug damselfish Dascyllus aruanus, subject of a large number of ecological, evolutionary and behavioural studies, responds to the presence of human observers (effect of scuba diver presence-absence) and how the method of data collection (directly by a scuba diver v. indirectly via video camera) may affect the quality of behavioural data. Scuba diver presence had only subtle effects on fish behaviour. The efficiency of the method of scoring fish behaviour depended on the behaviour under consideration: those behaviours that occur in close proximity to the corals were scored more effectively directly by a scuba diver while those that are performed in a more rapid or repetitive fashion were scored more effectively indirectly via video camera. These results provide a foundation for future behavioural research on D. aruanus and other fishes where scuba divers or video cameras are the prevalent means of data collection.