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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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Species contributing up to 80% towards the similarity of the predominantly sediment- and predominantly reef- associated groups identified using fuzzy clustering.
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pone-0110831-g003: Species contributing up to 80% towards the similarity of the predominantly sediment- and predominantly reef- associated groups identified using fuzzy clustering.

Mentions: The characteristic species of each assemblage group (making the highest contributions to within-group similarity) re-enforced the broad habitat-related patterns described above (Fig. 3). Sediment-associated species such as flathead (Platycephalus bassensis, Neoplatycephalus richardsoni) and sharks (Mustelus antarcticus, Squalus megalops) as well as the common gurnard perch (Neosebastes scorpaenoides) and cucumber fish (Paraulopus nigripinnis) were characteristic of groups 4 and 6. Group 1 also consisted of sediment-associated fish (eastern- barred grubfish - Parapercis allporti- as well as P. nigripinnis), but was differentiated from groups 4 and 6 by relatively low abundances and very few species. Of the predominantly mixed-reef associated groups, groups 2 and 3 were both dominated by jackass morwong (Nemadactylus macropterus). Group 2 was also composed of a variety of others species including the velvet leatherjacket (Meuschenia scaber), reef ocean perch (Helicolenus percoides) and draughtboard sharks (Cephaloscyllium laticeps). Group 3 was further characterised by relatively high abundances of striped trumpeter (Latris lineata) as well as reef ocean perch. Group 5 was differentiated from other groups by large numbers of leatherjackets (primarily Thamnaconus degeni), but was also characterised by silverbelly (Parequula melbournensis) and jackass morwong.


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)

Species contributing up to 80% towards the similarity of the predominantly sediment- and predominantly reef- associated groups identified using fuzzy clustering.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0110831-g003: Species contributing up to 80% towards the similarity of the predominantly sediment- and predominantly reef- associated groups identified using fuzzy clustering.
Mentions: The characteristic species of each assemblage group (making the highest contributions to within-group similarity) re-enforced the broad habitat-related patterns described above (Fig. 3). Sediment-associated species such as flathead (Platycephalus bassensis, Neoplatycephalus richardsoni) and sharks (Mustelus antarcticus, Squalus megalops) as well as the common gurnard perch (Neosebastes scorpaenoides) and cucumber fish (Paraulopus nigripinnis) were characteristic of groups 4 and 6. Group 1 also consisted of sediment-associated fish (eastern- barred grubfish - Parapercis allporti- as well as P. nigripinnis), but was differentiated from groups 4 and 6 by relatively low abundances and very few species. Of the predominantly mixed-reef associated groups, groups 2 and 3 were both dominated by jackass morwong (Nemadactylus macropterus). Group 2 was also composed of a variety of others species including the velvet leatherjacket (Meuschenia scaber), reef ocean perch (Helicolenus percoides) and draughtboard sharks (Cephaloscyllium laticeps). Group 3 was further characterised by relatively high abundances of striped trumpeter (Latris lineata) as well as reef ocean perch. Group 5 was differentiated from other groups by large numbers of leatherjackets (primarily Thamnaconus degeni), but was also characterised by silverbelly (Parequula melbournensis) and jackass morwong.

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