Fish Population Fluctuation Estimates Based on Fifteen Years of REEF Volunteer Diver Data For the Monterey Peninsula, California

Wolfe, JR and CV Pattengill-Semmens. 2013. Fish Population Fluctuation Estimates Based on Fifteen Years of REEF Volunteer Diver Data For the Monterey Peninsula, California.

CalCOFI Reports. 54 (2013): 127-140

A database of fish surveys conducted by volunteer recreational divers trained by REEF was used to examine fish populations in Monterey Peninsula, California, between 1997 and 2011. Over 3,000 surveys were conducted as part of this ongoing citizen science effort. The analysis was conducted using a numerical conversion method to calculate population estimates from REEF log-scale data (this method was described in a companion paper published in the same CalCOFI Reports issue). Variations in relative density over time are reported for 18 fish species, including several fisheries-targeted species. Two recruitment pulses of young-of-the-year rockfish (Sebastes spp.) were observed over the study period, with subsequent increases in older rockfish. Several predator species increased and subsequently declined, peaking two years after prey populations. Strong concordance was found between REEF data and those collected by Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), a consortium of academic institutions. Results show that data collected by REEF has great potential to augment and strengthen professional research data and serve as a valuable baseline to evaluate marine reserves.

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