Comparison of underwater video with electrofishing and dive‐counts for stream fish abundance estimation

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
By: , and 

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Abstract

Advances in video technology enable new strategies for stream fish research. We compared juvenile (age‐0) and adult (age 1+) Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis abundance estimates from underwater video with backpack electrofishing and dive‐count methods across a series of stream pools in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia (n = 41). Video methods estimated greater mean abundance of adult trout than 1‐pass electrofishing but were not different than 3‐pass electrofishing or dive‐count methods in this regard. In contrast, videos underestimated abundance of juvenile trout, and we suggest this is because predator avoidance‐behaviors by juvenile trout limit their use of microhabitat locations visible to cameras. Integrated abundance estimates from 2 cameras increased correspondence to comparison methods relative to single cameras, demonstrating the importance of an expanded field of view for video sampling in streams. Geomorphic features helped explain method‐wise differences: more adult trout were estimated with video than 3‐pass electrofishing as riffle crest depth and boulder composition increased, indicating habitat associations with trout escapement from electrofishing. Our results demonstrated that video techniques can provide a robust alternative or supplement to traditional methods for estimating adult trout abundance in stream pools.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparison of underwater video with electrofishing and dive‐counts for stream fish abundance estimation
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1002/tafs.10245
Edition Online First
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Leetown Science Center
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