Habitat complexity and fish size affect the detection of Indo-Pacific lionfish on invaded coral reefs

Green, SJ, N Tamburello, SE Miller, JL Akins, IM Cote ́. 2012. Habitat complexity and fish size affect the detection of Indo-Pacific lionfish on invaded coral reefs.

Coral Reefs. 19 December 2012

This paper explores detectability rates of lionfish using underwater visual census methods such as belt transects and stationary visual census. Knowing the error in these methods specficially for lionfish is necessary to help study this invasive species in the western Atlantic. The research was conducted at the Cape Eleuthera Institute, where much of REEF's work on lionfish is conducted.The authors found that the two census methods detect fewer than 30% of lionfish present in an area and, in more than 50% of the cases, fail to detect any lionfish when one or more indivudals are actually present. Two factors affected the ability to detect lionfish: lionfish body size and habitat complexity. 

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