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Estimating fish species richness from underwater video and netting in remote Australian waterholes

Ebner, B.C. and Morgan, D.L. (2012) Estimating fish species richness from underwater video and netting in remote Australian waterholes. In: ASFB & OCS 2012 Joint Conference & Symposium, 15 - 18 July, Adelaide, Australia.


The rapid assessment of biodiversity is an important task in the sustainable management of ecosystems. Baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVs) have been successfully applied in high visibility marine ecosystems for this purpose, particularly at depths where conventional survey methods are impractical. We aimed to determine if BRUVs and unbaited remote underwater video stations (UBRUVs) provide an effective means of complementing conventional netting techniques for rapid survey of fish communities in large waterholes in a remote Australian river. Species richness records from replicated deployments of BRUVs and UBRUVs in shallow (<1 m) and deep (>1 m) water were compared with those obtained from using fyke nets, gill nets and beach seines. Maximum species richness was achieved through a combination of conventional netting and camera based techniques. BRUVs and UBRUVs provided versatile techniques that were effective at a range of depths and habitats, contrasting each of the netting techniques. We conclude that cameras warrant application in aquatic areas of high conservation value including where threatened species are the focus of monitoring or if such species would otherwise be encountered as by-catch by destructive techniques.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit
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