The Ecology of Fishes on Deep Boulder Reefs in the Western Gulf of Maine (NW Atlantic).

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The Ecology of Fishes on Deep Boulder Reefs in the Western Gulf of Maine (NW Atlantic).

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Title: The Ecology of Fishes on Deep Boulder Reefs in the Western Gulf of Maine (NW Atlantic).
Author: Auster, PJ; Lindholm, J
Abstract: Deep boulder reefs (DBRs) are found in the cold temperate waters of the Gulf of Maine at 50-100 m depth. Species composition and use of space resources by fishes on DBRs in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) was quantified during a series of dives using Deepworker 2000 one-person submersibles in 1999. Additional observations of fishes from SBNMS and adjacent sites in the western Gulf of Maine are included based on data collected during remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives from 1993 through 2003. Fishes using reefs were classified as year round residents, seasonal residents, or transients (where migrant refers to fishes moving through a range of habitats within a landscape) based on period of use. Our observations demonstrate that fishes use the space resources of DBRs in much the same manner as fish taxa on shallow water reefs. That is, the vertical relief of reefs aids zooplanktivorous fishes in gaining access to increased flows that deliver prey, hard surfaces support invertebrate communities that serve as prey for scan-and-pick foragers, piled boulders provide deep crevices for shelter from predators and for reproductive activities of pair bonding fishes, and boulders provide flow refuges from tidal current flows. Strategies for use of one-person submersibles and ROVs for behavioral studies require trade-offs in terms of balancing piloting and research tasks. For example, point-count and behavioral scan methods were used when the submersible was stationary (parked) on the seafloor, allowing the operator to concentrate on piloting tasks when moving from station to station. Due to the need to constantly run thrusters on ROVs (due to a lack of variable ballast systems), fish census and behavior data were collected when first sighting individuals during strip transects in order to minimize the effects of reactions to an approaching vehicle.
Description: American Academy of Underwater Sciences (http://www.aaus.org/)
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9014
Date: 2005

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