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Regional estimates of a range-extending ecosystem engineer using stereo-imagery from ROV transects collected with an efficient, spatially balanced design


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Sward, D, Monk, J ORCID: 0000-0002-1874-0619 and Barrett, NS ORCID: 0000-0002-6167-1356 2021 , 'Regional estimates of a range-extending ecosystem engineer using stereo-imagery from ROV transects collected with an efficient, spatially balanced design' , Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation , pp. 1-14 , doi: 10.1002/rse2.230.

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The redistribution of marine ecosystem engineers in response to changing climateis restructuring endemic benthic communities globally. Therefore, developingand implementing efficient monitoring programs across the completedepth range of these marine ecosystem engineers is often an urgent managementpriority. Traditionally, many monitoring programs have been based on asystematically selected set of survey locations that, while able to track trends atthose sites through time, lack inference for the overall region being monitored.This study trialled a probabilistic sampling design to address this need, takingadvantage of an important prerequisite for such designs, extensive multibeamechosounder (MBES) mapping, to inform a spatially balanced sample selection.Here, we allocated 170 remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) transects based on aspatially balanced probabilistic sampling design across three locations withextensive mapping. Generalized additive models were used to estimate the densityand associated barren cover of the range-expanding ecosystem engineer, thelong spined urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersii). Estimates were generated at areef-wide scale across three locations on the east coast of Tasmania, Australia,representing the leading edge of the species recent range extension. Model-basedestimates of urchin density and barren cover incorporated seabed structureattributes, such as depth and ruggedness, with differences in these modelledrelationships being identified between locations. Estimates ranged from0.000065 individuals m-2 and 0.018% barren cover in the Tasman Peninsula to0.167 individuals m-2 and 2.10% barren cover at Governor Island MarineReserve, reflecting a north to south distributional gradient. This study highlightsthe value of combining probabilistic sampling designs, ROV transects,stereo video, and MBES mapping to generate reliable and robust estimates ofimportant ecosystem species needed to protect reef-based fishery and conservationvalues via adaptive and informed management.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Sward, D and Monk, J and Barrett, NS
Keywords: spatially balanced design, urchin barren, autonomous underwater vehicle imagery, coastal reef management
Journal or Publication Title: Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN: 2056-3485
DOI / ID Number: 10.1002/rse2.230
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 The Authors. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Zoological Society of LondonThis is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License, ( which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes

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