Assessment of Faunal Communities and Ecosystem Interactions in a Sub-Tropical Lagoon using Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations in Bimini, Bahamas

Animal behaviour affects ecosystem function and stability through a variety of mechanisms and as such is important to marine management and conservation. In this study baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) were utilized in the assessment of faunal communities within a sub-tropical, shallow water nursery habitat in Bimini, Bahamas. BRUVS were deployed within a well-defined study site for a period of 13 months between April 2013 and May 2014. A total of 140 samples recorded 62 species in 27 families. Analysis of the gathered data provided information on distribution and abundance of faunal groups within the studied habitats. Statistical analysis assessed differences in community composition across a range of factors (e.g. habitat type, tidal phase) and explored the causal attributes of environmental variables. The existence of predator-prey interactions was determined and the spatial interconnectivity between sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) and prey species considered. Study findings demonstrate contrasting behaviour in the use of habitat within faunal groups and identify the importance of mangrove fringed sub-habitat. The use of BRUVS is suggested as an effective tool in the assessment of faunal community composition and distribution in shallow water habitats. Findings provide novel contribution to the understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics.

ISCED Categories

The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management