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Integrating seafloor habitat mapping and fish assemblage patterns improves spatial management planning in a marine park


Malcolm, HA and Jordan, A and Schultz, AL and Smith, SDA and Ingleton, T and Foulsham, E and Linklater, M and Davies, P and Ferrari, R and Hill, N and Lucieer, V, Integrating seafloor habitat mapping and fish assemblage patterns improves spatial management planning in a marine park, Journal of Coastal Research, 1, (Special Issue 75) pp. 1292-1296. ISSN 0749-0208 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Coastal Education and Research Foundation

DOI: doi:10.2112/SI75-259.1


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are important spatial mechanisms for managing human activities, if effectively planned. The Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP), covering 720 km2 of coastal waters in New South Wales, Australia, includes reef and unconsolidated habitats up to 17 km from shore and 75 m depth. When established in 1991, there was limited knowledge of biotic patterns, seafloor habitats and habitat-biotic relationships in the multiple-use SIMP, which constrained effective conservation planning. Subsequent mapping of sub-tidal habitats from aerial photography and single-beam acoustics improved habitat representation following rezoning in 2002 using Comprehensive, Adequate, Representative (CAR) principles and assisted site selection for diver surveys of fishes, a key surrogate taxon. In 2006, a swath acoustic mapping program commenced, which mapped ~35% of the MPA. This has produced high-resolution data on seafloor habitats, including depths >50 m. Bathymetry and backscatter layers have facilitated targeted deployment of Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) to test hypotheses about associations between fishes and physical habitat characteristics. Strong and persistent patterns in fish assemblage composition in relation to particular habitat characteristics provided the basis for a Habitat Classification Scheme (HCS) to be refined with the following categories: substratum (consolidated, unconsolidated), cross-shelf position (inshore, mid, offshore) and depth (shallow, intermediate, deep). Further refinement of unconsolidated substratum into gravel and sand habitats, which were mapped using backscatter layers, improves this classification. The HCS, which integrates habitat and biotic patterns, greatly increases the potential for effective spatial management planning in the SIMP when used with spatial planning tools (e.g. Marxan).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:baited video, Marine Protected Area, Solitary Islands, sub-tropical, habitat mapping, MPA, Solitary Islands Marine Park, biodiversity, Marxan
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Hill, N (Dr Nicole Hill)
UTAS Author:Lucieer, V (Dr Vanessa Lucieer)
ID Code:107432
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:12
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2016-03-16
Last Modified:2018-04-10
Downloads:7 View Download Statistics

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