Advertisement

Measuring coral size-frequency distribution using stereo video technology, a comparison with in situ measurements

  • Joseph A. Turner
  • Nicholas V. C. Polunin
  • Stuart N. Field
  • Shaun K. Wilson
Article

Abstract

Coral colony size-frequency distribution data offer valuable information about the ecological status of coral reefs. Such data are usually collected by divers in situ, but stereo video is being increasingly used for monitoring benthic marine communities and may be used to collect size information for coral colonies. This study compared the size-frequency distributions of coral colonies obtained by divers measuring colonies ‘in situ’ with digital video imagery collected using stereo video and later processed using computer software. The size-frequency distributions of the two methods were similar for corymbose colonies, although distributions were different for massive, branching and all colonies combined. The differences are mainly driven by greater abundance of colonies >50 cm and fewer colonies <10 cm recorded when using the in situ method. The stereo video method detected 93 % of marked colonies >5 cm and was able to record measurements on 87 % of the colonies detected. However, stereo video only detected 57 % of marked colonies <5 cm, suggesting that this method may be unsuitable for assessing abundance of coral recruits. Estimates of colony size made with the stereo video were smaller than the in situ technique for all growth forms, particularly for massive morphologies. Despite differences in size distributions, community assessments, which incorporated genera, growth forms and size, were similar between the two techniques. Stereo video is suitable for monitoring coral community demographics and provided data similar to in situ measure for corymbose corals, but the ability to accurately measure massive and branching coral morphologies appeared to decline with increasing colony size.

Keywords

Coral size-frequency distribution Stereo video Digital imaging techniques Reef monitoring Coral population demographics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the staff in the Marine Science Program of the Department of Parks and Wildlife for allowing data collection to complete this work and for providing technical assistance. This project was funded as part of the Dredging Audit and Surveillance Program by the Gorgon Joint Venture as part of the environmental offsets. The Gorgon project is a joint venture of the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Osaka Gas, Tokyo Gas and Chubu Electric Power. Special thanks to those on the GMER field trip who assisted with logistics and data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study is funded by the Chevron-operated Gorgon Project’s State Environmental Offsets Program and is administered by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

References

  1. Alvarado-Chacon, E. M., & Acosta, A. (2009). Population size-structure of the reef-coral montastraea annularis in two contrasting reefs of a marine protected area in the southern caribbean sea. Bulletin of Marine Science, 85, 61–76.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, M. J. (2001). A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Austral Ecology, 26, 32–46.Google Scholar
  3. Bak, R. P. M., & Meesters, E. H. (1998). Coral population structure: the hidden information of colony size-frequency distributions. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 162, 301–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bak, R. P. M., & Meesters, E. H. (1999). Population structure as a response of coral communities to global change. American Zoologist, 39, 56–65.Google Scholar
  5. Bauman, A.G., Pratchett, M. S., Baird, A. H., Riegl, B., Heron, S. F., Feary, D. A., (2013). Variation in the size structure of corals is related to environmental extremes in the Persian Gulf. Marine Environmental Research, 84, 43–50.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, E., Cox, E., Jokiel, P., & Rodgers, K. (2004). Development of benthic sampling methods for the coral reef assessment and monitoring program (CRAMP) in hawai'i. Pacific Science, 58, 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burgess, S. C., Osborne, K., Sfiligoj, B., & Sweatman, H. (2010). Can juvenile corals be surveyed effectively using digital photography?: implications for rapid assessment techniques. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 171, 345–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cardini, U., Chiantore, M., Lasagna, R., Morri, C., & Bianchi, C. N. (2011). Size-structure patterns of juvenile hard corals in the maldives. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 92, 1335–1339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carleton, J. H., & Done, T. J. (1995). Quantitative video sampling of coral reef benthos: large-scale application. Coral Reefs, 14, 35–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carpenter, K. E., Abrar, M., Aeby, G., Aronson, R. B., Banks, S., Bruckner, A., Chiriboga, A., Cortes, J., Delbeek, J. C., DeVantier, L., Edgar, G. A., Edwards, A. J., Fenner, D., Guzman, H. M., Hoeksema, B. W., Hodgson, G., Johan, O., Licuanan, W. J., Livingstone, S. R., Lowell, E. R., Moore, J. A., Obura, D. O., Ochavillo, D., Polidoro, B. A., Precht, W. F., Quibilan, M. C., Reboton, C., Richards, Z. T., Rogers, A. D., Sanciango, J., Sheppard, A., Sheppard, C., Smith, J., Stuart, S., Turak, E., Veron, J. E. N., Wallace, C., Weil, E., & Wood, E. (2008). One-third of reef-building corals face elevated extinction risk from climate change and local impacts. Science, 321, 560–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Depczynski, M., Heyward, A., Wilson, S., Holmes, T., Case, M., Colquhoun, J., et al. (2011). WAMSI 3.1.2. final report: methods of monitoring the health of benthic communities at Ningaloo – coral & fish recruitment. Perth: Western Australian Marine Science Institution. Google Scholar
  12. Done, T. J., DeVantier, L. M., Turak, E., Fish, D. A., Wakeford, M., & van Woesik, R. (2010). Coral growth on three reefs: development of recovery benchmarks using a space for time approach. Coral Reefs, 29, 815–834.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dumas, P., Bertaud, A., Peignon, C., Léopold, M., & Pelletier, D. (2009). A “quick and clean” photographic method for the description of coral reef habitats. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 368, 161–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dunstan, P. K., & Johnson, C. R. (1998). Spatio-temporal variation in coral recruitment at different scales on heron reef, southern great barrier reef. Coral Reefs, 17, 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Edmunds, P. J., Aronson, R. B., Swanson, D. W., Levitan, D. R., & Precht, W. F. (1998). Photographic versus visual census techniques for the quantification of juvenile corals. Bulletin of Marine Science, 62, 937–946.Google Scholar
  16. Gilmour, J. P., Smith, L. D., Heyward, A. J., Baird, A. H., & Pratchett, M. S. (2013). Recovery of an isolated coral reef system following severe disturbance. Science, 340, 69–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Guzner, B., Novoplansky, A., & Chadwick, N. E. (2007). Population dynamics of the reef-building coral acropora hemprichii as an indicator of reef condition. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 333, 143–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall, V. R., & Hughes, T. P. (1996). Reproductive strategies of modular organisms: comparative studies of reef-building corals. Ecology, 77, 950–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harris, A. R., Wilson, S. K., Graham, N. A. J., & Sheppard, C. R. C. (2014). Scleractinian coral communities of the inner Seychelles 10 years after the 1998 mortality event. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 24, 667–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harvey, E. S., & Shortis, M. R. (1996). A system for stereo-video measurement of subtidal organisms. Marine Technology Society Journal, 29, 10–22.Google Scholar
  21. Harvey, E., Fletcher, D., & Shortis, M. (2001). A comparison of the precision and accuracy of estimates of reef-fish lengths determined visually by divers with estimates produced by a stereo-video system. Fishery Bulletin, 99, 63–71.Google Scholar
  22. Harvey, E., Fletcher, D., Shortis, M. R., & Kendrick, G. A. (2004). A comparison of underwater visual distance estimates made by scuba divers and a stereo-video system: implications for underwater visual census of reef fish abundance. Marine and Freshwater Research, 55, 573–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hill, J., & Wilkinson, C. (2004). Methods for ecological monitoring of coral reefs. Townsville: Australian Institute of Marine Science.Google Scholar
  24. Hodgson, G., Hill, J., Kiene, W., Maun, L., Mihaly, J., Liebeler, J., Shuman, C., & Torres, R. (2006). Reef check instruction manual: A guide to reef check coral reef monitoring. California: Reef Check Foundation, Pacific Palisades.Google Scholar
  25. Holmes, T. H., Wilson, S. K., Travers, M. J., Langlois, T. J., Evans, R. D., Moore, G., et al. (2013). A comparison of visual- and stereo-video based fish community assessment methods in tropical and temperate marine waters of Western Australia. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 11, 337–350.Google Scholar
  26. Hughes, T. P., Baird, A. H., Dinsdale, E. A., Moltschaniwskyj, N. A., Pratchett, M. S., Tanner, J. E., & Willis, B. L. (1999). Patterns of recruitment and abundance of corals along the great barrier reef. Nature, 397, 59–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hughes, T. P., Baird, A. H., Dinsdale, E. A., Moltschaniwskyj, N. A., Pratchett, M. S., Tanner, J. E., & Willis, B. L. (2000). Supply-side ecology works both ways: the link between benthic adults, fecundity, and larval recruits. Ecology, 81, 2241–2249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hughes, T. P., Graham, N. A. J., Jackson, J. B. C., Mumby, P. J., & Steneck, R. S. (2010). Rising to the challenge of sustaining coral reef resilience. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25, 633–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Langlois, T. J., Harvey, E. S., Fitzpatrick, B., Meeuwig, J. J., Shedrawi, G., & Watson, D. L. (2010). Cost-efficient sampling of fish assemblages: comparison of baited video stations and diver video transects. Aquatic Biology, 9, 155–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leujak, W., & Ormond, R. (2007). Comparative accuracy and efficiency of six coral community survey methods. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 351, 168–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Linares, C., Pratchett, M. S., & Coker, D. J. (2011). Recolonisation of acropora hyacinthus following climate-induced coral bleaching on the great barrier reef. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 438, 97–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Meesters, E. H., Hilterman, M., Kardinaal, E., Keetman, M., De Vries, M., & Bak, R. P. M. (2001). Colony size-frequency distributions of scleractinian coral populations: spatial land interspecific variation. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 209, 43–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mumby, P.J., & Harborne, A.R. (2010). Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on caribbean reefs. PLoS One 5(1):e8657. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008657.
  34. Mundy, C. (1996). A quantitative survey of the corals of American Samoa. Report to Department of Marine and Wildlife Re- sources, American Samoa Government.Google Scholar
  35. Ninio, R., Delean, S., Osborne, K., & Sweatman, H. (2003). Estimating cover of benthic organisms from underwater video images: variability associated with multiple observers. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 265, 107–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nozawa, Y., Tokeshi, M., & Nojima, S. (2008). Structure and dynamics of a high-latitude scleractinian coral community in amakusa, southwestern japan. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 358, 151–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pelletier, D., Leleu, K., Mou-Tham, G., Guillemot, N., & Chabanet, P. (2011). Comparison of visual census and high definition video transects for monitoring coral reef fish assemblages. Fisheries Research, 107, 84–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pelletier, D., Leleu, K., Mallet, D., Mou-Tham, G., Herve, G., Boureau, M., & Guilpart, N. (2012). Remote high-definition rotating video enables fast spatial survey of marine underwater macrofauna and habitats. PLoS ONE, 7, e30536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Richardson, L. L., & Voss, J. D. (2005). Changes in a coral population on reefs of the northern florida keys following a coral disease epizootic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 297, 147–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Roth, M. S., & Knowlton, N. (2009). Distribution, abundance, and microhabitat characterization of small juvenile corals at palmyra atoll. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 376, 133–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Santana-Garcon, J., Newman, S. J., & Harvey, E. S. (2014). Development and validation of a mid-water baited stereo-video technique for investigating pelagic fish assembledges. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 452, 82–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Smith, L. D., Devlin, M., Haynes, D., & Gilmour, J. P. (2005). A demographic approach to monitoring the health of coral reefs. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 51, 399–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Victor, S., Golbuu, Y., Yukihira, H., & Van Woesik, R. (2009). Acropora size-frequency distributions reflect spatially variable conditions on coral reefs of palau. Bulletin of Marine Science, 85, 149–157.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph A. Turner
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Nicholas V. C. Polunin
    • 1
  • Stuart N. Field
    • 3
    • 4
  • Shaun K. Wilson
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Marine Science and TechnologyUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Joint Nature Conservation CommitteeMonkstone HousePeterboroughUK
  3. 3.Marine Science Program, Department of Parks and WildlifeKensingtonAustralia
  4. 4.Oceans InstituteUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  5. 5.Joint Nature Conservation CommitteePeterboroughUK

Personalised recommendations