Alternate Title

A Comparison of Three Methods for Visually Assessing Reef Fish Communities: Time and Area Compensated


Reef fish assemblage survey results using Transect, Point, and Random in situ visual assessment techniques were evaluated and compared on a coral reef biotope off the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. Parameters compared were: number of species, number of individuals, and species diversity (H'). No significant effect attributable to the time-of-day when the surveys were conducted was noted to occur. Variability in observations between divers was not noted for any of the dependent variables while conducting the Transect method. Divers using the Random technique recorded the highest number of species per survey, while the assemblage parameters recorded using Transect and Point methods were statistically similar for most dependent variables. Point surveys, however, had a higher and less variable species diversity. When the data were adjusted for amount of survey time and area it was determined that divers were more efficient in sampling numbers of individuals when using the Transect method.