The secret life of fish: what can BRUVS tell us about subtidal reefs?

Ms Jamie Hicks1, Mr  David  Miller1, Mr Daniel  Easton1, Mr Danny  Brock1

1Department for Environment and Water, Adelaide, Australia

Subtidal reefs are a critical component of marine ecosystems in SA supporting a diverse array of species, ecological communities and ecosystem services. Subtidal reefs provide food and refuge for a wide range of fish and invertebrates, and are home to iconic temperate species of conservation interest including blue devils, leafy sea dragons and western blue groper. The local reefs here in SA are part of the “Great Southern Reef” that stretches from WA to Victoria with 85% of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. The monitoring of these reefs is important to maintain the health of these important ecosystems.

Baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) are a powerful tool used worldwide to monitor changes in fish assemblages. BRUVS can be deployed at a range of depth, are non-destructive and the data collected can be utilized to assess community composition, distribution, relative abundance and size of marine fishes and provides a permanent record of data. The Department of Environment uses BRUVS across a range of projects including the monitoring of SA Marine Parks and Windara shellfish reef.  The information being collected by BRUVS is helping better understand fish communities and their behaviour and contributes to new records of fish, locating biodiversity hotspots and identifying aggregation sites for important species.


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