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Understanding community-habitat associations of temperate reef fishes using fine-resolution bathymetric measures of physical structure


Cameron, MJ and Lucieer, V and Barrett, NS and Johnson, CR and Edgar, GJ, Understanding community-habitat associations of temperate reef fishes using fine-resolution bathymetric measures of physical structure, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 506 pp. 213-229. ISSN 0171-8630 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright Inter-Research 2014

DOI: doi:10.3354/meps10788


Multibeam sonar (MBS) hydro-acoustic technology allows for inexpensive, broadscale, fine-resolution assessment of marine fish habitats. Parallel advancements in geographic information systems and new analytical techniques are providing researchers with the ability to generate informative surrogate predictors of biodiversity and species responses. The aim of this study was to determine whether fine-scale bathymetric derivatives of MBS survey data could be effectively applied as surrogates to explain spatial patterns in reef fish diversity and species−habitat relationships. In the absence of direct metrics of habitat, these derivatives might prove to be effective tools for marine spatial planning. Species−habitat relationships were examined across a marine reserve on the south-eastern coast of Tasmania at fine spatial scales using boosted regression tree analyses. The most important explanatory variables of community diversity were those describing the degree of reef aspect deviation from east and south (seemingly as a proxy for swell exposure), reef bathymetry (depth), plane and slope. Models could account for up to 30% of the spatial variability in measures of species diversity. Responses in species abundance and occurrence to habitat structure appeared to be largely species-specific at the scales investigated. Models accounted for up to 67% and 58% of the abundance and occurrence, respectively, for the southern hulafish Trachinops caudimaculatus. Our results demonstrate that multibeam derived metrics of reef habitat structure, employed in combination with modern modelling approaches, have the potential to explain and predict fine-resolution patterns in temperate reef fish community structure. This knowledge is urgently required to effectively manage marine ecosystems and conserve biodiversity and fisheries resources.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:marine habitat, complexity, community structure, temperate reef, fish prediction, remote sensing, bathymetric derivatives, physical structure, fish-habitat relationships
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:Cameron, MJ (Mr Matthew Cameron)
UTAS Author:Lucieer, V (Dr Vanessa Lucieer)
UTAS Author:Barrett, NS (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CR (Professor Craig Johnson)
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
ID Code:93225
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2014-07-18
Last Modified:2017-10-31
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