Research Technical Report
Use of a towed video camera sled to asses scales of habitat and organism assemblages in MPAs: Implications for management and monitoring
Knight, A., J. Lindholm, J. de Marignac, J. Hinkle, A.J. Cecchettini, and A. DeVogelaere (April 2008)
Poster presentation at the 2008 Sanctuary Currents Symposium, Seaside, CA
In September 2007, a network of twenty-nine state-designated marine protected areas (MPAs) was implemented along California's central coast, twenty-three of which fall within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Critical to the success of these state and federal managed areas is the understanding and evaluation of the ecosystem properties within their boundaries. Little is known about the spatial and temporal distributions of habitat, fish, and invertebrate assemblages present in these new protected areas and in the Sanctuary as a whole. Additionally, technologies to sample marine ecosystems must be matched to the questions that are asked. To address this need for information within the MPAs and the Sanctuary, a towed camera sled system was used to record video transects inside and adjacent to four of the new MPAs. Video data will be used to 1) quantify the distribution and abundance of fish and invertebrate assemblages relative to the distribution of seafloor habitats; and 2) investigate the ability of the camera sled to conduct transects over varying habitats and rugosity. These data will support the site-characterization effort in MBNMS and provide baseline data collection for long-term monitoring in the MPAs. Additionally, the data collection and analysis protocols developed in this study can be used to inform future sampling efforts in MPAs, MBNMS, and for the Sanctuary Program in general.