Reef Life Survey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Reef Life Survey
Reef Life Survey logo.png
AbbreviationRLS
PurposeMarine life monitoring programme
Location
  • Hobart
Region
Tasmania
Websitereeflifesurvey.com

Reef Life Survey is a marine life monitoring programme[1] based in Hobart, Tasmania. It is international in scope, but predominantly Australian, as a large proportion of the volunteers are Australian. Most of the surveys are done by volunteer recreational divers, collecting biodiversity data for marine conservation. The database is available to marine ecology researchers, and is used by several marine protected area managements in Australia,[2][3] New Zealand, American Samoa and the eastern Pacific.

Function[edit]

Reef Life Survey provides data to improve biodiversity conservation and the sustainable management of marine resources. They collect and curate biodiversity information at spatial and temporal scales beyond those possible by most scientific dive teams which have to work with limited resources, by using volunteer recreational divers trained in the RLS survey procedures.[1][4] The University of Tasmania houses and manages the RLS database, and the data is freely available to the public for non-profit purposes through public outputs, including their website.

History[edit]

Reef Life Survey was started by researchers at the University of Tasmania and initially funded by the Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities (CERF) Program. This program is the core activity of the Reef Life Survey Foundation Incorporated – a not for profit Australian organisation.[1]

Personnel[edit]

Reef Life Survey includes a volunteer network of recreational scuba divers, trained in the relevant skills, and an Advisory Committee. The advisory committee is made up of managers and scientists who use the collected data, and representatives of the recreational diver network.[5]

Procedures[edit]

Diver swimming a transect for Reef Life Survey

Standard survey procedures are used matched to a variety of habitat topographies, and using simple equipment - waterproof clipboard with records sheet, underwater camera, and 50m surveyor's tape measure. The surveys are typically repeated at irregular intervals at listed sites, identified by GPS location, transect depth and direction, and are usually conducted as a pair of transects in opposite directions from the nominal position, at approximately constant depth. Data collected includes fish counts by visual census in a 5m x 5m corridor on both sides of the transect line (Method 1), mobile invertebrate counts in a 1m corridor on both sides of the line (Method 2), and photo-quadrats at 2.5m intervals along the 50m transect line. Manufactured debris may also be recorded. Off transect observations of interest are recorded separately (Method 0). Numbers and size class are recorded for fish, just numbers for most invertebrates.[6]

Data[edit]

Since 2006, divers have collected data for RLS from over 44 countries. As of September 2015, more than 4500 species have been recorded from over 7000 surveys.

Expeditions[edit]

A circumnavigation of Australia by volunteer citizen scientists aboard the sailing catamaran Reef Dragon left Port Davey, Tasmania, on February 16, 2013 on an counterclockwise journey around the continent of Australia and ended in February 2014 in Prince of Wales Bay, Hobart. During the voyage a marine baseline of reef biodiversity for the new Commonwealth Coral Sea Marine Reserve network was established.[7][8][9]

Publications[edit]

  • Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features.[10]
  • Systematic global assessment of reef fish communities by the Reef Life Survey program.[11]
  • Exploited reefs protected from fishing transform over decades into conservation features not otherwise present in the seascape.[12]
  • Ecological effects of marine protected areas on rocky reef communities: a continental-scale analysis.[13]
  • Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Staff, RLS website home page http://reeflifesurvey.com/
  2. ^ Staff. "Reef Life Survey". Parks Victoria.
  3. ^ Staff. "Reef life surveys". Natural Resources Kangaroo Island.
  4. ^ Gertz, Emily (18 February 2014). "Vast Underwater Survey Identifies Five Keys to Conserving Ocean Life". Popular Science.
  5. ^ Staff. "About RLS". RLS website.
  6. ^ RLS Staff (2013-04-15). "Standardised survey procedures for monitoring rocky & coral reef ecological communities" (PDF). Reef Life Survey. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  7. ^ Mounster, Bruce (20 February 2014). "Researchers map life under the sea". Mercury.
  8. ^ Darby, Andrew (21 February 2014). "Reef audit finds big fish lost". Sydney Herald.
  9. ^ Staff. "Twelve months at sea, 12,000 nautical miles: our citizen scientists get a real taste of Reef Life". University of Tasmania.
  10. ^ Edgar, Graham J.; Rick D. Stuart-Smith; Trevor J. Willis; Stuart Kininmonth; Susan C. Baker; Stuart Banks; Neville S. Barrett; Mikel A. Becerro; Anthony T. F. Bernard; Just Berkhout; Colin D. Buxton; Stuart J. Campbell; Antonia T. Cooper; Marlene Davey; Sophie C. Edgar; Günter Försterra; David E. Galván; Alejo J. Irigoyen; David J. Kushner; Rodrigo Moura; P. Ed Parnell; Nick T. Shears; German Soler; Elisabeth M. A. Strain; Russell J. Thomson (13 February 2014). "Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features". Nature. 506 (7487): 216–220. doi:10.1038/nature13022. PMID 24499817.
  11. ^ Edgar, Graham J; Rick D Stuart-Smith (2014). "Systematic global assessment of reef fish communities by the Reef Life Survey program". Scientific Data. 1: 140007. doi:10.1038/sdata.2014.7. PMC 4322569. PMID 25977765.
  12. ^ Edgar, G.J.; Barrett, N.S.; Stuart-Smith, R.D. (2009). "Exploited reefs protected from fishing transform over decades into conservation features not otherwise present in the seascape" (PDF). Ecological Applications. 19 (8): 1967–1974. doi:10.1890/09-0610.1.
  13. ^ Edgar, G.J.; Stuart-Smith, R.D. (2009). "Ecological effects of marine protected areas on rocky reef communities: a continental-scale analysis". Marine Ecology Progress Series. 388: 51–62. doi:10.3354/meps08149.
  14. ^ Stuart-Smith, Rick D.; Amanda E. Bates; Jonathan S. Lefcheck; J. Emmett Duffy; Susan C. Baker; Russell J. Thomson; Jemina F. Stuart-Smith; Nicole A. Hill; Stuart J. Kininmonth; Laura Airoldi; Mikel A. Becerro; Stuart J. Campbell; Terence P. Dawson; Sergio A. Navarrete; German A. Soler; Elisabeth M. A. Strain; Trevor J.Willis; Graham J. Edgar (26 September 2013). "Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity". Nature. Macmillan Publishers Limited. 501 (7468): 539–542. doi:10.1038/nature12529. PMID 24067714.