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Counting Reef Fish

Posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 11:16 am by

Have you ever thought of what would go into counting the number of fish in a reef? This daunting task, is critical when assessing the state and health of the reefs, and ocean in general. But how exactly would you do it? We can’t really line up the fish and start at one end now can we?

Well, scientists at the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, have developed a way to do just that. Yes, scientists from the same university that brought us a tool that monitors coral health, have collaborated with NOAA fisheries to develop a fish-counting framework. This new methodology a uses probabilistic survey approach to more-precisely count fish in a cost-effective and efficient way.

“The results of this study can be utilized to support stock assessments of principal exploited species, evaluate the performance of ‘no-take’ marine reserves, and assess community health for many non-target reef fish species,” said acting manager of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, Steven Thur. “This is a great example of science directly feeding into management decisions, finding research efficiencies, and of successful collaboration across federal, state, and academic lines so we invest our funds in areas of greatest importance.”

Photo Credit: University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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