Filming and snorkelling as visual techniques to survey fauna in difficult to access tropical rainforest streams

Ebner, Brendan C., Fulton, Christopher J., Cousins, Stephen, Donaldson, James A., Kennard, Mark J., Meynecke, Jan-Olaf, and Schaffer, Jason (2015) Filming and snorkelling as visual techniques to survey fauna in difficult to access tropical rainforest streams. Marine and Freshwater Research, 66 (2). pp. 120-126.

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Abstract

Dense tropical rainforest, waterfalls and shallow riffle-run-pool sequences pose challenges for researcher access to remote reaches of streams for surveying aquatic fauna, particularly when using capture-based collecting techniques (e.g. trapping, backpack and boat electrofishing). We compared the detection of aquatic species (vertebrates and invertebrates >1 cm in body length) within pool habitats of a rainforest stream obtained by two visual techniques during both the wet and dry season: active visual survey by snorkelling and baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVSs). Snorkelling detected more species than a single BRUVS at each site, both within and among seasons. Snorkelling was most effective for recording the presence and abundance of diurnally active small-bodied species (adult size <150 mm total length), although both techniques were comparable in detecting large-bodied taxa (turtles, fish and eels). On the current evidence, snorkelling provides the most sensitive and rapid visual technique for detecting rainforest stream fauna. However, in stream sections dangerous to human observers (e.g. inhabited by crocodiles, entanglement, extreme flows), we recommend a stratified deployment of multiple BRUVSs across a range of stream microhabitats within each site.

Item ID: 38627
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: inconspicuous fauna, species richness, underwater video, underwater visual census, Wet Tropics
ISSN: 1448-6059
Funders: Winifred Violet Scott Foundation, Australian Rivers Institute
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2015 04:26
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060204 Freshwater Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960807 Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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