Application of baited remote underwater video surveys to quantify spatial distribution of elasmobranchs at an ecosystem scale

White, J., Simpfendorfer, C.A., Tobin, A.J., and Heupel, M.R. (2013) Application of baited remote underwater video surveys to quantify spatial distribution of elasmobranchs at an ecosystem scale. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 448. pp. 281-288.

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Understanding the distribution of mobile species across broad spatial scales and a variety of habitat types is essential in developing sound conservation strategies. The applicability of baited remote under-water video station (BRUVS) to determine the distribution of elasmobranchs at broad spatial scales (12 degrees latitude) and across a range of habitat types was assessed. Shark-like batoids within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) were chosen as a case study, given the conservation concern surrounding these species, limited knowledge of their spatial ecology and their exposure to fishing. Rhynchobatus spp. (88.9%), were most frequently observed followed by Rhina ancylostoma (7.1%) and Glaucostegus typos (3.9%). Shark-like batoids were observed across a wide depth range (10.4-87.5 m), showing highest affinity for 30-40 m. The main predictors of Rhynchobatus spp. presence in the GBRMP were location, substrate type and season with individuals more commonly observed during winter and autumn in regions with substrates dominated by mud or gravel. There was no difference in the proportion of BRUVS in which shark-like batoids were observed between fished and unfished marine park zones. Surveys with BRUVS offer a standardized, non-extractive technique for quantifying the spatial distribution of mobile species that are difficult to sample using conventional techniques across broad spatial scales. Information generated using BRUVS may be useful in helping design improved conservation strategies for rare or threatened elasmobranchs.

Item ID: 30496
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0022-0981
Keywords: BRUVS, conservation, shark-like batoids, spatial distribution
Funders: CRC Reef Research Centre, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), National Oceans Office, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2013 09:29
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 100%
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