Use of baited remote underwater video surveys to assess the diversity and distribution of elasmobranchs and their communities in Bimini, Bahamas

Establishing effective management and conservation policies for marine systems requires an understanding of the relationships between natural populations and their dynamic environment. There is currently a lack of understanding of how these relationships influence the dynamics and structure of natural communities, especially of large vertebrate predators. This study used baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVS) to investigate community assemblages, the influence of abiotic and biotic factors on elasmobranch distribution, and relative abundance around Bimini, Bahamas. Sampling comprised 81 deployments between February and May 2016. Seven sampling locations were chosen as they comprised the various habitats found around Bimini and served as representative habitat types for the greater Bimini ecosystem. Results showed diversity was higher in locations associated with higher habitat heterogeneity. Elasmobranch abundance and distribution was highest on the western side of the island and was significantly influenced by location and month of the year. Teleost groups shared similar trends to elasmobranch abundance and distribution. The identification of significant factors influencing community assemblages provides further insight into the role of organisms, such as elasmobranch predators, in community dynamics that can contribute to effective management and conservation policies.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Samuel H. Gruber, Maurits Van Zinnicq Bergmann, Tristan Guttridg
Thesis Institute: Bimini Biological Field Station

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