Collaborator: James Lindholm – Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME – CSU Monterey Bay)
The use of acoustic telemetry to quantify the movements of fishes relative to marine reserve boundaries is increasingly common. A combination of passive acoustic receivers deployed on the seafloor and active acoustic tracking from surface vessel can provide both the long-term and the fine-scale information on the movements of fishes relative to reserve boundaries that is necessary for evaluating reserve success. Yet while approaches to the analysis of telemetry data are fairly well-developed within the scientific community, approaches to the dissemination of those data to the diverse audiences involved in the management of marine reserves are much less developed.
We are developing a series of three-dimensional digital animations that will convincingly demonstrate how fishes move relative to attributes of the seafloor and marine reserve boundaries. Active acoustic tracking from surface vessel will be coupled with a passive acoustic array to track the movements of ten surgically-tagged blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus) within and adjacent to the Carmel Pinnacles State Marine Reserve and the Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area in Central California. The detailed X,Y,Z coordinates produced for each fish by the active tracking and the courser presence/absence data from the receiver array will then be superimposed over high resolution bathymetric maps of the seafloor, and digital animations will be produced using the EcoViz methodology developed at CSU Monterey Bay. The animations will follow each tagged fish as it moves throughout the diverse topography of the two sites and back and forth across the reserve boundaries.
The completed animations resulting from this pilot project will be provided to the California Department of Fish and Game, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, as well as any interested stakeholder groups. With the pilot project completed, we hope to expand the application of the EcoViz methodology to multiple fish species throughout existing and planned marine reserves up and down the California coast.