MEPS 574:141-155 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12172

Comparing relative abundance, lengths, and habitat of temperate reef fishes using simultaneous underwater visual census, video, and trap sampling

Nathan M. Bacheler1,*, Nathan R. Geraldi2, Michael L. Burton1, Roldan C. Muñoz1, G. Todd Kellison1

1Southeast Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
2Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Unbiased counts of individuals or species are often impossible given the prevalence of cryptic or mobile species. We used 77 simultaneous multi-gear deployments to make inferences about relative abundance, diversity, length composition, and habitat of the reef fish community along the southeastern US Atlantic coast. In total, 117 taxa were observed by underwater visual census (UVC), stationary video, and chevron fish traps, with more taxa being observed by UVC (100) than video (82) or traps (20). Frequency of occurrence of focal species was similar among all sampling approaches for tomtate Haemulon aurolineatum and black sea bass Centropristis striata, higher for UVC and video compared to traps for red snapper Lutjanus campechanus, vermilion snapper Rhomboplites aurorubens, and gray triggerfish Balistes capriscus, and higher for UVC compared to video or traps for gray snapper L. griseus and lionfish Pterois spp. For 6 of 7 focal species, correlations of relative abundance among gears were strongest between UVC and video, but there was substantial variability among species. The number of recorded species between UVC and video was correlated (ρ = 0.59), but relationships between traps and the other 2 methods were weaker. Lengths of fish visually estimated by UVC were similar to lengths of fish caught in traps, as were habitat characterizations from UVC and video. No gear provided a complete census for any species in our study, suggesting that analytical methods accounting for imperfect detection are necessary to make unbiased inferences about fish abundance.


KEY WORDS: Survey · Detection · Baited remote underwater video station · CPUE · Centropristis striata · Lutjanus campechanus · Sampling gears · Reefs · Fisheries management


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Cite this article as: Bacheler NM, Geraldi NR, Burton ML, Muñoz RC, Kellison GT (2017) Comparing relative abundance, lengths, and habitat of temperate reef fishes using simultaneous underwater visual census, video, and trap sampling. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 574:141-155. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12172

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