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Quantifying fish assemblages in large, offshore marine protected areas: an Australian case study.

Hill NA, Barrett N, Lawrence E, Hulls J, Dambacher JM, Nichol S, Williams A, Hayes KR - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: The majority of species, whilst found commonly along the southern or south-eastern coasts of Australia, are endemic to Australia, highlighting the global significance of this region.Species richness was greater on habitats containing some reef and declined with increasing depth.The trophic breath of species in assemblages was also greater in shallow waters.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

ABSTRACT
As the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) increases globally, so does the need to assess if MPAs are meeting their management goals. Integral to this assessment is usually a long-term biological monitoring program, which can be difficult to develop for large and remote areas that have little available fine-scale habitat and biological data. This is the situation for many MPAs within the newly declared Australian Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) network which covers approximately 3.1 million km2 of continental shelf, slope, and abyssal habitat, much of which is remote and difficult to access. A detailed inventory of the species, types of assemblages present and their spatial distribution within individual MPAs is required prior to developing monitoring programs to measure the impact of management strategies. Here we use a spatially-balanced survey design and non-extractive baited video observations to quantitatively document the fish assemblages within the continental shelf area (a multiple use zone, IUCN VI) of the Flinders Marine Reserve, within the Southeast marine region. We identified distinct demersal fish assemblages, quantified assemblage relationships with environmental gradients (primarily depth and habitat type), and described their spatial distribution across a variety of reef and sediment habitats. Baited videos recorded a range of species from multiple trophic levels, including species of commercial and recreational interest. The majority of species, whilst found commonly along the southern or south-eastern coasts of Australia, are endemic to Australia, highlighting the global significance of this region. Species richness was greater on habitats containing some reef and declined with increasing depth. The trophic breath of species in assemblages was also greater in shallow waters. We discuss the utility of our approach for establishing inventories when little prior knowledge is available and how such an approach may inform future monitoring efforts within the CMR network.

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Location of the Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in Tasmania, Australia.Panels A and B show the CMR's Multiple Use Zone (IUCN VI) where survey work was conducted. The grey zone is the continental shelf (less than 200 m depth) where there was little pre-existing mapping data. Coarse bathymetry data (gridded at 250 m horizontal resolution) sourced from Geoscience Australia is shown with 10 m contour intervals overlain. The coloured area to the right shows the relatively steep and highly incised upper continental slope that had been mapped previously with multibeam sonar extending from 200 to 1500 m. A) Location of the 40 sites surveyed for habitat type in phase one of the sampling program. B) Location of the clustered sites where Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs) were deployed in phase two. Sites are coloured according to the broad habitat type: sediment (yellow); mixed, low-profile reef and sediments (red); canyon head (blue) recorded during phase one of sampling.
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pone-0110831-g001: Location of the Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in Tasmania, Australia.Panels A and B show the CMR's Multiple Use Zone (IUCN VI) where survey work was conducted. The grey zone is the continental shelf (less than 200 m depth) where there was little pre-existing mapping data. Coarse bathymetry data (gridded at 250 m horizontal resolution) sourced from Geoscience Australia is shown with 10 m contour intervals overlain. The coloured area to the right shows the relatively steep and highly incised upper continental slope that had been mapped previously with multibeam sonar extending from 200 to 1500 m. A) Location of the 40 sites surveyed for habitat type in phase one of the sampling program. B) Location of the clustered sites where Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs) were deployed in phase two. Sites are coloured according to the broad habitat type: sediment (yellow); mixed, low-profile reef and sediments (red); canyon head (blue) recorded during phase one of sampling.

Mentions: The Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) was established in 2007 and lies about 25 km offshore of northern Tasmania (Fig. 1). The reserve is 26,975 km2 in size and extends as a west-east corridor from 35 m to > 3,000 m water depths. It consists of two zones: a multiple use zone (IUCN Category VI) that covers the majority of the continental shelf and slope; and a marine national park zone (IUCN Category II) that extends from the continental slope to the edge of the reserve at the 200 nautical mile limit of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (Fig. 1 inset). Our study area is the continental shelf, part of the multiple use zone (IUCN Category VI), where activities that impact on benthic habitats are prohibited, including demersal trawling, Danish seining and scallop dredging, or subject to permit requirements, for example mining activities [21]. Benthic habitats on the Flinders CMR shelf consist of sediment plains with patches of low profile and sand-inundated reefs, and steep rocky outcrops where canyon heads incise the shelf break (Lawrence, unpublished data). Within this environment, reefs and rocky outcrops have been identified as features likely to contain enhanced benthic diversity [21].


Quantifying fish assemblages in large, offshore marine protected areas: an Australian case study.

Hill NA, Barrett N, Lawrence E, Hulls J, Dambacher JM, Nichol S, Williams A, Hayes KR - PLoS ONE (2014)

Location of the Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in Tasmania, Australia.Panels A and B show the CMR's Multiple Use Zone (IUCN VI) where survey work was conducted. The grey zone is the continental shelf (less than 200 m depth) where there was little pre-existing mapping data. Coarse bathymetry data (gridded at 250 m horizontal resolution) sourced from Geoscience Australia is shown with 10 m contour intervals overlain. The coloured area to the right shows the relatively steep and highly incised upper continental slope that had been mapped previously with multibeam sonar extending from 200 to 1500 m. A) Location of the 40 sites surveyed for habitat type in phase one of the sampling program. B) Location of the clustered sites where Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs) were deployed in phase two. Sites are coloured according to the broad habitat type: sediment (yellow); mixed, low-profile reef and sediments (red); canyon head (blue) recorded during phase one of sampling.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4215995&req=5

pone-0110831-g001: Location of the Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in Tasmania, Australia.Panels A and B show the CMR's Multiple Use Zone (IUCN VI) where survey work was conducted. The grey zone is the continental shelf (less than 200 m depth) where there was little pre-existing mapping data. Coarse bathymetry data (gridded at 250 m horizontal resolution) sourced from Geoscience Australia is shown with 10 m contour intervals overlain. The coloured area to the right shows the relatively steep and highly incised upper continental slope that had been mapped previously with multibeam sonar extending from 200 to 1500 m. A) Location of the 40 sites surveyed for habitat type in phase one of the sampling program. B) Location of the clustered sites where Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs) were deployed in phase two. Sites are coloured according to the broad habitat type: sediment (yellow); mixed, low-profile reef and sediments (red); canyon head (blue) recorded during phase one of sampling.
Mentions: The Flinders Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) was established in 2007 and lies about 25 km offshore of northern Tasmania (Fig. 1). The reserve is 26,975 km2 in size and extends as a west-east corridor from 35 m to > 3,000 m water depths. It consists of two zones: a multiple use zone (IUCN Category VI) that covers the majority of the continental shelf and slope; and a marine national park zone (IUCN Category II) that extends from the continental slope to the edge of the reserve at the 200 nautical mile limit of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (Fig. 1 inset). Our study area is the continental shelf, part of the multiple use zone (IUCN Category VI), where activities that impact on benthic habitats are prohibited, including demersal trawling, Danish seining and scallop dredging, or subject to permit requirements, for example mining activities [21]. Benthic habitats on the Flinders CMR shelf consist of sediment plains with patches of low profile and sand-inundated reefs, and steep rocky outcrops where canyon heads incise the shelf break (Lawrence, unpublished data). Within this environment, reefs and rocky outcrops have been identified as features likely to contain enhanced benthic diversity [21].

Bottom Line: The majority of species, whilst found commonly along the southern or south-eastern coasts of Australia, are endemic to Australia, highlighting the global significance of this region.Species richness was greater on habitats containing some reef and declined with increasing depth.The trophic breath of species in assemblages was also greater in shallow waters.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

ABSTRACT
As the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) increases globally, so does the need to assess if MPAs are meeting their management goals. Integral to this assessment is usually a long-term biological monitoring program, which can be difficult to develop for large and remote areas that have little available fine-scale habitat and biological data. This is the situation for many MPAs within the newly declared Australian Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) network which covers approximately 3.1 million km2 of continental shelf, slope, and abyssal habitat, much of which is remote and difficult to access. A detailed inventory of the species, types of assemblages present and their spatial distribution within individual MPAs is required prior to developing monitoring programs to measure the impact of management strategies. Here we use a spatially-balanced survey design and non-extractive baited video observations to quantitatively document the fish assemblages within the continental shelf area (a multiple use zone, IUCN VI) of the Flinders Marine Reserve, within the Southeast marine region. We identified distinct demersal fish assemblages, quantified assemblage relationships with environmental gradients (primarily depth and habitat type), and described their spatial distribution across a variety of reef and sediment habitats. Baited videos recorded a range of species from multiple trophic levels, including species of commercial and recreational interest. The majority of species, whilst found commonly along the southern or south-eastern coasts of Australia, are endemic to Australia, highlighting the global significance of this region. Species richness was greater on habitats containing some reef and declined with increasing depth. The trophic breath of species in assemblages was also greater in shallow waters. We discuss the utility of our approach for establishing inventories when little prior knowledge is available and how such an approach may inform future monitoring efforts within the CMR network.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus