Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20425
Title: Quantifying Relative Diver Effects in Underwater Visual Censuses
Contributor(s): Dickens, Luke C (author); Goatley, Christopher  (author)orcid ; Tanner, Jennifer K (author); Bellwood, David R (author)
Publication Date: 2011
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018965Open Access Link
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20425
Abstract: Diver-based Underwater Visual Censuses (UVCs), particularly transect-based surveys, are key tools in the study of coral reef fish ecology. These techniques, however, have inherent problems that make it difficult to collect accurate numerical data. One of these problems is the diver effect (defined as the reaction of fish to a diver). Although widely recognised, its effects have yet to be quantified and the extent of taxonomic variation remains to be determined. We therefore examined relative diver effects on a reef fish assemblage on the Great Barrier Reef. Using common UVC methods, the recorded abundance of seven reef fish groups were significantly affected by the ongoing presence of SCUBA divers. Overall, the diver effect resulted in a 52% decrease in the mean number of individuals recorded, with declines of up to 70% in individual families. Although the diver effect appears to be a significant problem, UVCs remain a useful approach for quantifying spatial and temporal variation in relative fish abundances, especially if using methods that minimise the exposure of fishes to divers. Fixed distance transects using tapes or lines deployed by a second diver (or GPS-calibrated timed swims) would appear to maximise fish counts and minimise diver effects.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: PLoS One, 6(4), p. 1-8
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1932-6203
Field of Research (FOR): 060801 Animal Behaviour
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
050206 Environmental Monitoring
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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