Fish-habitat associations in the region offshore from James price point - a rapid assessment using baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS)

Cappo, Mike, Stowar, Marcus, Syms, Craig, Johansson, Charlotte, and Cooper, Tim (2011) Fish-habitat associations in the region offshore from James price point - a rapid assessment using baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS). Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 94 (2). pp. 303-321.

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Abstract

A "snapshot" of the fish-habitat associations in the vicinity of James Price Point was obtained during a single expedition in October 2009, when Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) were deployed in coastal waters to survey the demersal and semi-demersal ichthyofauna. A total of 7108 individuals from 116 species of fishes, sharks, rays and sea snakes were recorded from 154 sites. Bony fishes were represented by 8 orders, and cartilaginous fishes were well represented by the Carcharhiniformes, Rajiformes and Orectolobiformes. There were 2 species of hydrophiid sea snakes. Multivariate analysis showed that species responded to the amount of epibenthic cover in the study area and that there was an interaction between depth and sediment composition, as well as depth and epibenthic cover, in defining four fish assemblages to the north and south of James Price Point. Diversity appeared to increase with depth amongst these assemblages. The sandy seabed offshore from James Price Point was inhabited by a "deep sandy" fish assemblage, which intruded inshore across the study area, and was characterised by the presence of ponyfish (Leiognathus), threadfin bream (Nemipterus) and queenfish (Scomberoides). On either side were shallow, northern and deeper, southern, assemblages inhabiting "gardens" of macroalgae, filter-feeders and some seagrass beds. These epibenthic habitats at the northern and southern ends of the survey area were clearly important to many species, but in general there appeared to be little association of particular vertebrate species or biotic habitat types with the James Price Point area itself. The study area was notable for the diversity and abundance of the fauna, given the shallow depth, lack of rugose seafloor topography and lack of sub-tidal coral reefs in the area sampled. Coarse comparison with the fauna at similar distance to shore in similar latitudes in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Burrup Peninsula and the Kimberley indicated that the study area had more small pelagic planktivores and more large semi-demersal predators. There was also an absence of some species normally associated with muddy seafloors and fringing coral reefs that are common on BRUVS set elsewhere in regions with less extreme tidal ranges. © Royal Society of Western Australia 2011.

Item ID: 21403
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0035-922X
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2012 02:45
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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