Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New reef fish survey gets under way

Following on from previous marine staff who had been working on a reef fish catalogue, a new survey has been set up to assess the variations in fish abundances, sizes and diversity, as well as overall coral reef health amongst the reefs in and around Kisite Mpunguti MPA.

-- Threadfin Butterflyfish on a snorkel survey --

The survey will use the same transects that we regularly snorkel as part of GVI’s wider marine research and will encompass a range of reefs facing different problems, thus providing quick comparisons. The transects will be snorkeled with a dive slate and we will be recording individual species of butterflyfish, parrotfish and angelfish, as well as recording families of grouper and snapper. The individual species were chosen after looking through the catalogue and establishing which were the most common on the reefs around this area.

-- Raccoon Butterflyfish --

Butterflyfish were chosen as the main indicator species as they are widely used in similar studies around the world and thus information is readily available on them. They are also easily recognisable and depend on coral polyps as their source of food, therefore any degradation in the coral should be reflected in the abundances of these fish.

-- Spectacular coral species in our marine park --

Over the coming months we hope to gather enough data (weather permitting!) to be able to get some idea of the abundance and diversity of the fish on the reefs we are looking at, as well showing the difference between areas where fishing is allowed and areas that are protected, so keep an eye out for future updates!!!