Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ecosystem-wide framework for monitoring coral reef fisheries can be used on global scale

Date:
March 28, 2011
Source:
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Summary:
Scientists have created a framework that increases the effectiveness of critical reef monitoring techniques. The new framework improves the accuracy and efficiency of fish counts and can be used to determine the best long term management strategies -- whether the reefs are in Florida, Hawaii or anywhere around the world.

One Fish, Two Fish… Reef Fish. Marine biologists have solved a conundrum that has stumped them for years -- how to count reef fish. It may sound simple, but the task is actually complex and critical in helping to evaluate the state of our oceans, coral reefs and the marine life that populate them.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Marine biologists have solved a conundrum that has stumped them for years -- how to count reef fish. It may sound simple, but the task is actually complex and critical in helping to evaluate the state of our oceans, coral reefs and the marine life that populate them.

In an article published in the journal Fisheries Research scientists from the University of Miami (UM) and NOAA Fisheries Service have collaborated to create a framework that extends and increases the effectiveness of reef monitoring techniques. The new methodology uses a probabilistic survey approach to more precisely count the numbers of fish in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The framework can be used to determine management strategies best suited to ensure the long-term sustainability of reef resources -- whether in the Florida Keys, Hawaii or in the Indo-Pacific's Coral Triangle.

"The results of this study can be used to support stock assessments of principal exploited species, evaluate the performance of 'no-take' marine reserves, and assess community health for many non-target reef fish species," said Steven Thur, acting manager of NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. "This is a great example of science directly feeding into management decisions, finding research efficiencies, and of successful collaboration across federal, state, and academic lines so we invest our funds in areas of greatest importance."

The research team includes Steve Smith, Jerry Ault and Jiangang Luo from UM's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, and Jim Bohnsack, Doug Harper and Dave McClellan from NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center. They began their work in the Florida Keys more than three decades ago.

"This program started when it became obvious that we could not evaluate coral reef fish populations by simply counting how many fish were being landed at the dock," said Bohnsack. "We knew that we could see and measure many more fish than we could ever capture and that we need to be able to use non-destructive assessment methods. At first our interest was on individual reefs, but later expanded to much larger areas as we learned more."

In the early years, a technique using scientific divers was developed to reliably count the number and sizes of reef fish by species. In the mid-90's a statistical method was developed to link diver visual counts and advanced mathematical calculations in a rigorous sampling process. This involved dividing the entire Florida Keys reef ecosystem into small sections classified according to simple features like soft and hard bottom, coral, and other features that related to where fish might live. Within each type of habitat a random process was used to select which areas were sampled by divers. This monitoring framework allowed the researchers to calculate the abundance and size-structure of more than 250 exploited and non-target reef fishes from Miami to Key West and out to the Dry Tortugas.

"Through our collaborative work we were able to create a framework that brings together cutting edge techniques in underwater sampling, coral reef mapping and statistical survey design that will serve us well as our marine resources continue to be impacted by fishing, habitat degradation and environmental changes," Smith said.

Although the team began using its theories in the Florida Keys, the new framework is fully transferable to other U.S. coral reef ecosystems and areas around the globe.

"We have already been using this methodology in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to assess multispecies reef fish populations, and federal and local management agencies are extremely pleased with the results of these efforts," said Ault. "We hope to employ this approach in new areas in order to have a single, quantitative framework to assess coral reefs at local, regional, national, and international spatial scales."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "Ecosystem-wide framework for monitoring coral reef fisheries can be used on global scale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134720.htm>.
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. (2011, March 28). Ecosystem-wide framework for monitoring coral reef fisheries can be used on global scale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134720.htm
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. "Ecosystem-wide framework for monitoring coral reef fisheries can be used on global scale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321134720.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins