Alternate Title

Quantification of Reef Fish Assemblages: A Comparison of Several In Situ Methods


On two coral reef biotopes off St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands a total of 41 in situ visual assessments of reef fish assemblages were conducted using six different methods. These methods included: transect, quadrat, random count, clnetransect, cineturret, and still photography. The dependent variables (numbers of species and species diversity) were examined for possible influence by the independent sample variables (time of day, amount of observation, time, reef site, and census method). Cluster analyses indicated that all methods gather data which allow community separation based on the sample variables. However, methods which tend to produce more "information" in terms of more species and numbers of individuals tend to recognize these sample variables more distinctly. Census assessment methods strongly Influenced the dependent variables. It is suspected that the amount of time employed for each method may be the most Important feature influencing in situ reef fish assemblage assessments.