Geospatial Patterns of Schooling Fish Across Different Artificial Reefs

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Geospatial Patterns of Schooling Fish Across Different Artificial Reefs

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2022-04

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Artificial reefs are anthropogenic structures intentionally deployed and often used to supplement existing natural reefs or create new habitats for fish and invertebrates. Previous studies have explored the abundance of predatory fish on vessel-based reefs, but there is still a lack of information on how schooling fish respond to different reef materials still exists.3 Studying what fish communities look like across different reef materials is helpful in guiding reef management practices. This work assessed fish school size, density, and water column occupancy across metal, concrete, and vessel reef sites. Echosounder data was collected on twelve different reef sites of varying artificial materials during 2020 and 2021. This data was used to ask how the structure of the fish schools on a reef change based on the material type of the reef. We found that on vessel-based reefs there are trends towards larger and more dense schools. Using this information, future studies can better estimate what schools of fish will look like on deployed artificial reefs.

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Faculty Mentor: Jim Perry

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This project was sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and the NOAA Hollings Scholar Program.

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Fessler, Avery. (2022). Geospatial Patterns of Schooling Fish Across Different Artificial Reefs. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/261315.

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