Benthic & Fish Survey Dives

INTRODUCTION TO BENTHIC AND FISH SURVEY

While being able to conduct rapid species assessments is becoming increasingly more important as a conservation research tool we also want to take a closer look at the reef and the fish that inhabit. Our research team uses the ‘Benthic and Fish Survey”, an off shoot of the reef check methodology.

It’s perfect for everyone who want to join our research team as this method is designed to assess reef health with minimal training. Data on fish species, size and biomass is collected along with the benthic composition of the sea floor using this surveying method. The data is inputted into our databases to contribute to various marine biologist studies of current reef health.

HOW DOES IT WORK

The research team of the Gili Shark Conservation Project cooperates with PADI 5 Star Dive Resort Oceans5  to conduct the benthic and fish survey dives. Participants go through practice surveys on land and several presentations detailing both the method and the various fish we are looking for.

The basic method requires four  people, each with their own independent role. The fish team members count every fish of specific species that is longer than 8 cm either side of a line that another team member lays. Finally the Substrate team member records the composition of the sea floor every 50 cm. These dives are lead and monitored by our lead scientist. First researchers must become good scuba divers before they progress onto research diving skills.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT

The data is collected on behalf of our partners internationally and aids their research on an international basis while also highlighting our own aims around the Gili Islands. Partnered with other projects including the Baited Remote Underwater Video, Photographic Identification and Roving Survey Dives projects, we use the collective data and results to change to parameters of the Gili Matra Marine reserve to create a more effective local marine management strategy. Regulating no-fishing zones and limiting tourist access to critical habitats including breading grounds, nurseries, and congregation areas to maintain and regrow identified target zones throughout the reserve.