MEPS 562:147-161 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11962

Influence of detection history and analytic tools on quantifying spatial ecology of a predatory fish in a marine protected area

Sarah L. Becker1,*, John T. Finn1, Andy J. Danylchuk1, Clayton G. Pollock2, Zandy Hillis-Starr2, Ian Lundgren3, Adrian Jordaan

1Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003-9285, USA
2National Park Service, Buck Island Reef National Monument, Christiansted, St. Croix 008020-4611, US Virgin Islands
3NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Regional Office, Habitat Conservation Division, Honolulu, Hawaii 96818-5007, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: As marine protected areas expand globally, filling data gaps regarding the spatial ecology of marine species has become increasingly important. Acoustic telemetry aims to provide this vital information through generating datasets that can be used to reveal complex movement patterns. The effects of analytic method choice and study design on results must be rigorously analyzed to validate the accuracy of ecological interpretations. We assessed the role of analytic method choice on ecological conclusions derived from an acoustic telemetry array at Buck Island Reef National Monument, USVI. Core use area estimates of great barracuda Sphyraena barracuda (n = 32) generated with 3 methods were compared, and the impact of variation in detection history on the ability to interpret results was modeled. Kernel utilization densities, dynamic Brownian bridge movement models, and network analysis indicated high site fidelity paired with less frequent broad exploratory movements. The first 2 methods both identified high use areas, whereas network methods placed higher emphasis on movement corridors and links between core and peripheral use areas. Generalized linear models showed that detection history impacted home range area estimates and confounded the ability to determine ecological relationships. As marine protected areas increase in relevance, it is important that methods to evaluate their effectiveness do not miss complex spatial-temporal patterns and that areas vital to ecological processes are considered alongside areas of highest use. Including network methods in routine spatial assessments may help reveal fish movement patterns previously hidden by using conventional home range analyses.


KEY WORDS: Acoustic telemetry · Home range · Marine protected areas · Great barracuda · Sphyraena barracuda · Analytical tools


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Cite this article as: Becker SL, Finn JT, Danylchuk AJ, Pollock CG, Hillis-Starr Z, Lundgren I, Jordaan A (2016) Influence of detection history and analytic tools on quantifying spatial ecology of a predatory fish in a marine protected area. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 562:147-161. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11962

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