Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 29–37 | Cite as

Improving multispecies rocky reef fish censuses by counting different groups of species using different procedures

  • Marcus P. Lincoln Smith
Article

Synopsis

A number of factors can influence the accuracy and precision of underwater visual transect techniques. Among these are observer swimming speed and, during multispecies surveys, the effect of counting all fishes on estimates of particular species. This paper examines the effect of these factors on population estimates of inconspicuous fishes (defined as Type 1) in a temperate reef fish assemblage near Sydney, Australia. Counting Type 1 fishes with all others yielded significantly lower estimates of species richness and abundance than when counted alone. This suggests that multispecies surveys should be split into 2 or more counts, using a census procedure that is appropriate to the group of species cencused. Further, the effect of counting all other fishes on estimates of Type 1 fishes varied according to the relative abundance of the former: their effect was lowest when abundance of other fishes was lowest. There was a negative relationship between observer speed and estimated abundance for Type 1 fishes. Survey precision of Type 1 fishes was generally improved by surveying at slower observer speeds.

Key words

Temperate reef fish Conspicuous and inconspicuous species Observer speed Gobiesocidae Serranidae Pomacentridae Pempheridae 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References cited

  1. Clarke, R.D. 1980. Habitat distribution and species diversity of chaetodontid and pomacentrid fishes near Bimini, Bahamas. Mar. Biol. 40: 277–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. De Martini, E.E. & D. Roberts. 1982. An empirical test of biases in the rapid visual technique for species-time censuses of reef fish assemblages. Mar. Biol. 70: 129–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ebeling, A.W. & R.N. Bray. 1976. Day versus night activity of reef fishes in a kelp forest off Santa Barbara, California. U.S. Fish. Bull. 74: 703–717.Google Scholar
  4. Jarman, P.J. 1979. The types of information available from aerial surveys, and their applicability to management in aerial surveys of fauna populations. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, ANPWS, Canberra, ACT, Australia, Special Publication 1: 107–113.Google Scholar
  5. Jones, R.S. & M.J. Thompson. 1978. Comparison of Florida reef assemblages using a rapid visual technique. Bull. Mar. Sci. 28: 159–172.Google Scholar
  6. Keast, A. & J. Harker. 1978. Strip counts as a means of determining densities and habitat utilization in lake fishes. Env. Biol. Fish. 1: 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kimmel, J.J. 1985. A new species-time method for visual assessment of fishes and its comparison with established methods. Env. Biol. Fish. 12: 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lincoln Smith, M.P. 1985. The development and application of visual survey procedures for fish communities on shallow rockey reefs. MSc. Thesis, University of Sydney, Sydney. 187 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Lincoln Smith, M.P. 1988. Effects of observer speed on sample counts of temperate rocky fish assemblages. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 43: 223–231.Google Scholar
  10. Luckhurst, B.E. & K. Luckhurst. 1978. Analysis of the influence of substrate variables on coral reef fish communities. Mar. Biol. 49: 317–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Molles, M.C., Jr. 1978. Fish species diversity on model and natural reef patches: experimental insular biogeography. Ecol. Monogr. 48: 289–305.Google Scholar
  12. Nolan, R.S., R.R. McConnaughey & C.R. Stearns. 1975. Fishes inhabiting two small nuclear test craters at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands. Micronesica 11: 205–217.Google Scholar
  13. Russell, B.C. 1977. Population and standing crop estimates for rocky reef fishes of north eastern New Zealand. N. Z. J. Mar. and Freshw. Res. 11: 23–26.Google Scholar
  14. Russell, B.C., F.H. Talbot, G.R.V. Anderson & B. Goldman. 1978. Collection and sampling of reef fishes. pp. 329–345. In: D.R. Stoddart & R.E. Johannes, Coral Reefs: Research Methods UNESCO, Paris.Google Scholar
  15. Sale, P.F. 1980. The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 18: 367–421.Google Scholar
  16. Sale, P.F. & W.A. Douglas. 1981. Precision and accuracy of visual census techniques for this assemblages on coral patch reefs. Env. Biol. Fish. 6: 333–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Sale, P.F. & B.J. Sharp. 1983. Correction of bias in visual transect censuses of coral reef fishes. Coral Reefs 2: 37–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Sale, P.F., P.J. Doherty, G.J. Eckert, W.A. Douglas & D.J. Ferrell. 1984. Large scale spatial and temporal variation in recruitment to fish populations on coral reefs. Oecologia (Berlin) 64: 191–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Seigel, S. 1956. Non parametric statistics. McGraw Hill, Kogakusha. 312 pp.Google Scholar
  20. Thompson, M.J. & T.W. Schmidt. 1977. Validation of the species/time random count technique sampling fish assemblages at the Dry Tortugas. Proc. 3rd. Int. Coral Reef Symp. 283–288.Google Scholar
  21. Willan, R.C., J.M. Dollimore & J. Nicholson. 1979. A survey of fish populations at Karikari Penninsular, Northland, by SCUBA diving. N. Z. J. Mar. and Freshw. Res. 13: 447–448.Google Scholar
  22. Williams, D.McB. 1986. Temporal variation in the structure of reef slope fish communities (central Great Barrier Reef): short-term effects of Acanthaster planci infestation. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 28: 157–164.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus P. Lincoln Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Cl- The Ecology Lab Pty. Ltd.DarlinghurstAustralia

Personalised recommendations