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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 477:189-199 (2013)  -  DOI:

Bait type affects fish assemblages and feeding guilds observed at baited remote underwater video stations

James Wraith1,3, Tim Lynch2, Todd E. Minchinton1, Allison Broad1, Andrew R. Davis1,*

1Institue for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia
2CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Hobart, Castray Esplanade, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
3NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores Dr., La Jolla, California 92037-1508, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) are increasingly being used to examine assemblages of fishes, yet critical methodological questions related to sampling limitations and bias, such as the influence of bait type, remain poorly understood. At multiple locations, we examined the hypothesis that diversity and abundance in temperate reef fish assemblages were independent of bait type. We used 3 bait types (abalone viscera, pilchards and crushed urchin) and quantified commonly used metrics for the fish assemblage, including species richness, time of first arrival and relative abundance on 3 shallow rocky reefs in southeastern Australia over 2 yr. We distinguished the following 6 feeding guilds: herbivore, zooplanktivore, alga/invertebrate consumers, invertebrate carnivore, macroinvertebrate carnivore and generalist carnivore. The response of fishes was dependent on bait type, with urchin bait performing particularly poorly. Although we did not detect statistical differences between the performance of pilchards and abalone viscera as bait, pilchards produced more consistent outcomes. Importantly, we also observed strong spatial effects. In general, bait type had a marked effect on species richness, but little influence on relative abundance. Overall we conclude that oily bait such as pilchards, which have been widely used in most studies, yield the most consistent outcomes. Consequently, bait type and spatial variation in fish assemblages needs to be considered in sampling designs to assess the limitations of BRUVS.

KEY WORDS: Subtidal fish assemblages · BRUVS · Temperate rocky reefs · Feeding guilds · Jervis Bay Marine Park

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Cite this article as: Wraith J, Lynch T, Minchinton TE, Broad A, Davis AR (2013) Bait type affects fish assemblages and feeding guilds observed at baited remote underwater video stations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 477:189-199.

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