By Steve Lindfield
University of Western Australia/ University of Guam
Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS) are a method for sampling fish communities across a broad range of depths and habitats. There have been many different forms of baited stations used by researchers over the world. However the present form that I will be using on this NOAA cruise are stereo-BRUVS that have been designed by Dr Euan Harvey from the University of Western Australia. I have previously spent many years using single camera BRUVS assessing fish populations on the east coast of Australia. But this is the first time I have foraged into the use of stereo-systems and this research will form part of my PhD thesis studying deeper water coral reef fish communities and the effects of fishing pressure.
BRUVS are a cost efficient method for studying fish communities. With each system costing approximately $5000, it is normal practice to use multiple units at the same time. For this cruise I will be using 8 systems. As these systems are remote and sit on the seafloor like a fish trap, only a rope to the surface is needed to retrieve them. So we can just literally throw them off the back of the boat at pre-defined GPS positions then come around and pick them all up. On this trip it has allowed us to gather 8 hrs of video footage over a period of 3 hrs! Having multiple systems deployed at once (which are spaced at least 250m apart) provides a good spatial coverage of the area and having replication within an area improves the statistical power of the fish assessment.
Below: Using the small boat to place the BRUVs