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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Progress with our reef fish surveys

In a blog earlier this year we discussed our plans for developing and improving reef fish surveys in Kisite Mpunguti Marine Protected Area. We thought it was time for an update…

Emperors are one of the key reef fish families in Survey 3

We have been busy doing surveys 1 and 2 on almost all of our survey transects through this and the previous expedition, with volunteers and staff both learning to identify and estimate the sizes of different families and species of important reef fish. Survey 1 assesses coral health by using bio-indicator species so in this survey we look at butterfly and angelfish and Survey 2 assesses the relationship between trigger fish, sea urchins and herbivorous fish including surgeon and parrot fish. Both these surveys give a good indication of the health and stability of the different reefs and the levels of biodiversity. This study will also help to determine the impact of fishing on the coral reef communities. Even in these initial stages it is possible to identify some key trends and differences between the transects and reefs surveyed.

Snappers are the most commonly caught fish for consumption on the south coast of kenya
Survey 3, which focuses on commercially important fish including the following families; Emperors (lethrinids), Snappers (lutjanids), Groupers (serranidae) and Rabbitfish (siganidae), indicates the impacts of fishing by recording differences in abundance and size on transects within and around the Marine Park. This week we have had 4 people pass the required identification test and are ready to start surveying! We have 4 weeks left of this expedition and we aim to cover each transects at least once for each survey. It’s going to involve a lot of snorkeling and although challenging, it’ll also be really interesting as well as a lot of fun!