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Effects of Open Circuit SCUBA Exhaust on Reef Fish Surveys in the Main Hawaiian Islands

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Title: Effects of Open Circuit SCUBA Exhaust on Reef Fish Surveys in the Main Hawaiian Islands
Authors: Lopes Jr, Keolohilani H.
Advisor: Adolf, Jason E.
Keywords: Conservation biology
Biology
Environmental science
Closed-Circuit Rebreather
Fish Management
show 2 moreMarine Protected Areas
Near Shore Fisheries

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Issue Date: May 2017
Abstract: The predominant method to quantify reef fish populations is the Open Circuit SCUBA (OC) in-situ fish survey. However, there are many biases associated with these surveys including the expelled OC exhaust which can cause visual and audible disturbances. This study aims to evaluate the bias created by OC exhaust utilizing closed-circuit rebreather (CCR) surveys, along surveys were conducted in protected areas and fished areas. The three sites in the main Hawaiian Islands were Kealakekua Bay (KK), Old Kona Airport (OA), and Pūpūkea (PK) marine life conservation district. This study found that the total fish biomass and species richness from all sites pooled showed no significant differences between gear types. However, there was a significant interaction between the gear type and the protection status (Pr(>|t|) = 0.025), indicating that there are greater differences between OC and CCR in the fished areas than the protected areas. The difference between the gear types showed a greater magnitude of OC having a higher biomass in the fished areas opposed to the protected areas where that difference was smaller. When fished species (Table 4 – a, b) were examined, significant differences between gear types were shown (Pr(>|t|) = 0.010). The OC surveys showed more fished biomass than the CCR surveys which could mean that the attraction to the exhaust within the protected areas were greater than the repulsion of the exhaust in the fished areas. Differences in the fished species biomass while having no difference in the all fish biomass supports the previous studies findings that fishing pressure is very influential on the magnitude of difference between the gear types. For researchers, estimating fishing pressure is of high importance in order to assess the level of bias associated with OC exhaust on surveys. These biases need to be accounted for in population estimations for protected areas and non-protected areas in order to get more accurate biological fish data.
Pages/Duration: 37 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10790/3230
Appears in Collections:Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science



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