Alternate Title

Point Count Censusing from a Submersible to Estimate Reef Fish Abundance Over Large Areas


Point count estimates of fish abundance were taken from a research submersible at thirty-two sites on a 0.5 km2 patch reef on the Florida Middle Grounds, off the West Florida Shelf. Of the fifty species recorded, nine species were selected for total population estimates based on their behavior and visibility. Data from the individual point counts were extrapolated to the entire reef.

Best estimates of total populations of these species varied from 320 for the short big eye (Pristigenys alta) to 307,600 for the purple reeffish (Chromis scotti). The estimate for the commercially important red grouper (Epinephelus morio) was 1,560, a concentration reasonably similar to the 960 simultaneously estimated from a mark-recapture assessment.