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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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Characteristics of the six assemblage groups identified using fuzzy-clustering.A) Proportion of sites within each group classified as sediment, mixed or reef habitat based on the BRUVs footage; B) the habitat preference of species within each assemblage group; C) boxplot of the trophic level of species within each assemblage group; the box represents the 1st and 3rd quartiles, and circles denote potential outliers. In all panels, groups are ordered based on dominant habitat contained within groups (sediment versus mixed reef/reef) and from shallow to deep within each broad habitat type (based on spatial distribution of groups presented in Fig. 5) In plot C) sediment- associated groups are coloured green and reef-associated groups, blue.
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pone-0110831-g002: Characteristics of the six assemblage groups identified using fuzzy-clustering.A) Proportion of sites within each group classified as sediment, mixed or reef habitat based on the BRUVs footage; B) the habitat preference of species within each assemblage group; C) boxplot of the trophic level of species within each assemblage group; the box represents the 1st and 3rd quartiles, and circles denote potential outliers. In all panels, groups are ordered based on dominant habitat contained within groups (sediment versus mixed reef/reef) and from shallow to deep within each broad habitat type (based on spatial distribution of groups presented in Fig. 5) In plot C) sediment- associated groups are coloured green and reef-associated groups, blue.

Mentions: The six assemblage groups were broadly aligned with habitats observed in the BRUV footage. Sites belonging to three groups (groups 1, 4, 6) contained exclusively or predominately sediment habitat (Fig. 2A) and contained greater numbers of species with a preference for sediment habitats. However, species with a strong affinity for reef were also found in the predominantly sediment-dominated habitat group, with groups 4 and 6 containing disproportionately more reef species than suggested by the available habitat (Fig. 2B). Sediment- associated assemblages (particularly groups 1 and 4) also contained a relatively high proportion of wide-ranging demersal species. Groups 2, 3, and 5 contained moderate to high proportions of mixed reef and reef habitat with the highest proportion of reef-associated species observed in group 3 (Fig. 2A, B).


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)

Characteristics of the six assemblage groups identified using fuzzy-clustering.A) Proportion of sites within each group classified as sediment, mixed or reef habitat based on the BRUVs footage; B) the habitat preference of species within each assemblage group; C) boxplot of the trophic level of species within each assemblage group; the box represents the 1st and 3rd quartiles, and circles denote potential outliers. In all panels, groups are ordered based on dominant habitat contained within groups (sediment versus mixed reef/reef) and from shallow to deep within each broad habitat type (based on spatial distribution of groups presented in Fig. 5) In plot C) sediment- associated groups are coloured green and reef-associated groups, blue.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0110831-g002: Characteristics of the six assemblage groups identified using fuzzy-clustering.A) Proportion of sites within each group classified as sediment, mixed or reef habitat based on the BRUVs footage; B) the habitat preference of species within each assemblage group; C) boxplot of the trophic level of species within each assemblage group; the box represents the 1st and 3rd quartiles, and circles denote potential outliers. In all panels, groups are ordered based on dominant habitat contained within groups (sediment versus mixed reef/reef) and from shallow to deep within each broad habitat type (based on spatial distribution of groups presented in Fig. 5) In plot C) sediment- associated groups are coloured green and reef-associated groups, blue.
Mentions: The six assemblage groups were broadly aligned with habitats observed in the BRUV footage. Sites belonging to three groups (groups 1, 4, 6) contained exclusively or predominately sediment habitat (Fig. 2A) and contained greater numbers of species with a preference for sediment habitats. However, species with a strong affinity for reef were also found in the predominantly sediment-dominated habitat group, with groups 4 and 6 containing disproportionately more reef species than suggested by the available habitat (Fig. 2B). Sediment- associated assemblages (particularly groups 1 and 4) also contained a relatively high proportion of wide-ranging demersal species. Groups 2, 3, and 5 contained moderate to high proportions of mixed reef and reef habitat with the highest proportion of reef-associated species observed in group 3 (Fig. 2A, B).

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