February 1st to 5th 2016
Olhão, Portugal
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Assessment of Faunal Communities and Ecosystem Interactions within a Sub – Tropical Lagoon using Baited Remote Underwater Video

Oral Presentation
Biodiversity Effects
Thursday, February 4, 2016 -
11:15 to 11:30

Grimmel, H. 1 Bullock, R. 2 Bond, M. 3 Erzini, K. 4 Guttridge, T. 5 Gruber, S. 6

1Bimini Biological Field Station, Bahamas
21. Hull International Fisheries Institute 2. Bimini Biological Field Station, Bahamas
3Institute for Ocean Conservation Science, Stony Brook University
4Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Algarve
5Bimini Biological Field Station, Bahamas
6Bimini Biological Field Station, Bahamas

Animal behaviour, in particular predator-prey interactions, can influence ecosystem functioning through a variety of direct and/or indirect mechanisms. Despite coastal systems, such as seagrass and mangroves, having been identified as critical habitat for a variety of species and life-stages they are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic activities with little known about the impact of their removal. Baited remote underwater video (BRUV) was used to survey fauna in both seagrass and mangrove communities within a sub-tropical, shallow-water system at Bimini, Bahamas.In particular, the spatial interconnectivity between these habitat types and the nature of predator-prey interactions for lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) and known teleost prey species was examined. Additionally, a variety of abiotic factors were assessed to determine their influence on species distribution and abundance. A total of 140 BRUV deployments, over 13 months between April 2013 and May 2014, recorded 62 species of mainly teleosts, invertebrates and elasmobranchs from 27 families. MaxN was used as a measure of relative abundance and multivariate analyses assessed differences in community composition across a range of factors (e.g. mangrove proximity and tidal phase) and environmental variables (e.g. temperature, dissolved oxygen and salinity). Results showed distinct differences in distribution and abundances and demonstrated contrasting habitat use between faunal groups, emphasize the importance of mangrove fringed sub-habitat. Although typically employed in deep-water environments, BRUVs proved to be an effective, non-invasive tool in shallow water. Therefore BRUVs could serve as a scalable instrument to assess faunal community structure and elucidate predator-prey interactions in these systems. Furthermore, if employed in a Before-After-Control-Impact survey design, results could document the impacts of coastal development, specifically mangrove degradation.
BRUVs, predator-prey interaction, MaxN, mangrove habitat, Bimini

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