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Relationships between reef fish communities and remotely sensed rugosity measurements in Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA

Environmental Biology of Fishes

By:
, , , , , and
DOI: 10.1007/s10641-006-9078-4

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Abstract

The realization that coral reef ecosystem management must occur across multiple spatial scales and habitat types has led scientists and resource managers to seek variables that are easily measured over large areas and correlate well with reef resources. Here we investigate the utility of new technology in airborne laser surveying (NASA Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL)) in assessing topographical complexity (rugosity) to predict reef fish community structure on shallow (<10 m deep) patch reefs. Marine portions of Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA, were surveyed remotely using the EAARL, and reef fish populations were visually surveyed on 10 patch reefs at independent, randomly selected stations (n = 10–13 per reef). Rugosity at each station was assessed in situ by divers using the traditional chain-transect method (10-m scale), and remotely using the EAARL submarine topography data at multiple spatial scales (2, 5, and 10 m). The rugosity and biological datasets were analyzed together to elucidate the predictive power of EAARL rugosity in describing the variance in reef fish community variables and to assess the correlation between chain-transect and EAARL rugosity. EAARL rugosity was not well correlated with chain-transect rugosity, or with species richness of fishes (although statistically significant, the amount of variance explained by the model was very low). Variance in reef fish community attributes was better explained in reef-by-reef variability than by physical variables. However, once the reef-by-reef variability was taken into account in a two-way analysis of variance, the importance of rugosity could be seen on individual reefs. Fish species richness and abundance were statistically higher at high rugosity stations compared to medium and low rugosity stations, as predicted by prior ecological research. The EAARL shows promise as an important mapping tool for reef resource managers as they strive to inventory and protect coral reef resources.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Relationships between reef fish communities and remotely sensed rugosity measurements in Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA
Series title:
Environmental Biology of Fishes
DOI:
10.1007/s10641-006-9078-4
Volume
78
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
Coastal and Marine Geology Program
Description:
12 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Biology of Fishes
First page:
71
Last page:
82
Number of Pages:
12
Country:
United States
State:
Florida
Other Geospatial:
Biscayne National Park