Biology Faculty Articles

Title

Analysis of a volunteer method for collecting fish presence and abundance data in the Florida Keys

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-1996

Publication Title

Bulletin of Marine Science

ISSN

0007-4977

Volume

59

Issue/No.

2

First Page

404

Last Page

416

Abstract

A roving diver fish survey method that requires relatively little time and equipment was developed for use by trained volunteer divers to regularly, rapidly, and inexpensively document patterns of reef fish distribution and abundance, In this method, a diver searches a dive site and records all observed fish species and their abundance in log10 categories, Results from 130 h of observation were analyzed from three regional surveys conducted in the Florida Keys at a total of 27 reefs by four observers during the summer of 1994. The Upper Keys had the most species (166) followed by the Lower Keys (151) and the Dry Tortugas (142). More uncommon species were found in the Dry Tortugas. Experienced volunteer divers were able to provide useful species listings, frequency of occurrence and abundance data. We recommend multiple surveys from one site and day and night surveys for providing most complete species listings. Cluster analysis of reefs using Jaccard similarity indicies showed that reefs within a region clustered together and that reefs in close geographical proximity generally had the highest similarity. Data showed spatial distributions and species abundance patterns consistent with previous studies