MEPS 350:277-290 (2007)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07195

Spatial and temporal variation in reef fish assemblages of marine parks in New South Wales, Australia—baited video observations

Hamish A. Malcolm1,5,*, William Gladstone2, Steven Lindfield2, James Wraith3, Tim P. Lynch4

1Solitary Islands Marine Park, NSW Marine Parks Authority, PO Box J297 Coffs Harbour Jetty, New South Wales 2450, Australia
2School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle (Ourimbah Campus), PO Box 127, Ourimbah, New South Wales 2258, Australia
3School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave., Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
4Jervis Bay Marine Park, PO Box 89, Huskisson, New South Wales 2540, Australia
5National Marine Science Centre, University of New England, PO Box J321 Coffs Harbour Jetty, New South Wales 2450, Australia

ABSTRACT: Baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) were used to examine variation in assemblages of reef fishes at scales of 100s of kilometres (between 3 marine parks in New South Wales, Australia) and kilometres (between 4 sites within each park). Temporal variation over 5 yr was also examined in 1 park (Solitary Islands). BRUVS were able to sample the relative abundance and distribution of species from a wide range of trophic groups, and were particularly effective for detecting cryptic predators. Significant variability in the fish assemblages occurred between each park consistent with the latitudinal distribution of the parks. Fish assemblages also varied significantly between sites within each park. Contrary to expectations, total species richness did not follow the expected latitudinal gradient. However, observed geographical patterns in species richness of certain families such as Labridae (greater richness in the most northern park) and Monacanthidae (greater species richness in southern parks) followed expectations. Abundant schooling species, common to all 3 parks, were important contributors to variation between sites. Temporal variation over 5 yr at 1 park was relatively minor compared to the spatial variation among the 3 parks. This suggests large-scale spatial separation is more important for structuring fish assemblages than time. A network of marine parks will therefore be required to represent variation in reef fish assemblages over this latitudinal scale.


KEY WORDS: Baited remote underwater video stations · BRUVS · Marine protected area · Reef fish assemblage · Representativeness · Spatial patterns


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Cite this article as: Malcolm HA, Gladstone W, Lindfield S, Wraith J, Lynch TP (2007) Spatial and temporal variation in reef fish assemblages of marine parks in New South Wales, Australia—baited video observations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 350:277-290. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07195

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