AB 18:229-241 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00506

Video transects as a complement to underwater visual census to study reserve effect on fish assemblages

Anne Tessier1,2,*, Jérémy Pastor1,2,3, Patrice Francour3, Gilles Saragoni1,2, Romain Crec’hriou1,2, Philippe Lenfant1,2

1Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur les Environnements Méditerranéens, UMR 5110,52 avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan, France
2CNRS, Centre de Formation et de Recherche sur les Environnements Méditerranéens, UMR 5110, 52 avenue Paul Alduy,
66860 Perpignan, France
3University de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, EA 4228 ECOMERS, Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice, France

ABSTRACT: The present study focuses on the use of diver-operated video (DOV) as a tool to evaluate the impact of a marine reserve on a fish assemblage, in comparison to underwater visual census (UVC). Samplings were conducted in the vicinity of the marine protected area (MPA) Cerbère-Banyuls (northwestern Mediterranean Sea). Four sites, with different levels of protection, were sampled 4 times, at depths of 5 and 10 m, to study abundance, species richness, structure of fish assemblages and fish aggregation. Results obtained by DOV and UVC provided evidence of significant effects of protection on abundance, species richness and fish assemblages. However, detection of weaker reserve effects using DOV may be limited. Furthermore, certain species are difficult to identify by video (e.g. Symphodus spp.), but DOV may be useful when studying a target and/or easily identifiable species. Contrary to UVC, DOV data can be archived and used for further study. Results concerning fish aggregation within fish assemblages showed specific patterns. Sites outside the MPA were mainly characterized by the absence of fish or few fish aggregations, and sites inside were characterized by high fish density (i.e. dispersed or patched aggregations). Thus, the fish aggregation parameter measured using DOV is an interesting metric to quantify reserve effect. Consequently, although this technique is time-consuming to produce results, DOV presents great potential for estimating MPA effectiveness while allowing simultaneous work on several sites to limit temporal bias.


KEY WORDS: MPA · Marine protected area · Reserve effect · Underwater video · Visual census · Mediterranean Sea · Fish


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Cite this article as: Tessier A, Pastor J, Francour P, Saragoni G, Crec’hriou R, Lenfant P (2013) Video transects as a complement to underwater visual census to study reserve effect on fish assemblages. Aquat Biol 18:229-241. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00506

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