Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Rare fish and new seafloor habitats found during NIWA survey

Rare fish and new seafloor habitats found during NIWA survey

NIWA scientists surveying shallow water coastal habitats off the east coast of Northland have found a rich diversity of macroalgal meadows, shellfish beds, sponges, and rare fish species, including a frogfish and possibly a new species of seahorse.

The survey was conducted using a small beam trawl research net with GoPro cameras attached, as well as dropped stationary cameras both with and without bait to attract fish.

Its goal was to discover what types of habitats were present and where they occurred; and what juvenile and small fish were associated with them. The information gathered will ultimately help inform fishery and ecosystem management decisions.

NIWA marine ecologist Dr Meredith Lowe says the resulting information helps to fill in gaps in scientific knowledge about biogenic habitats in particular – "living" habitats created by plants and animals - and their small fish inhabitants, such as juvenile snapper. The survey results are helping to build a national fish-habitat classification and inventory of New Zealand’s coastal and shelf zone.

“Our knowledge of what lives in the coastal zone is scant. For instance, while we believe estuaries provide critical nurseries for a range of fish species, we cannot prove that until we know their relative contributions compared to possible alternative coastal nursery areas. During our survey, ‘new’ snapper nurseries and associated habitats were found in Te Rawhiti Strait, Bay of Islands, and in inner Doubtless Bay. We can now combine these data with previously collected estuary data to estimate what the relative nursery values are.

“We also know this coastal region is one of the most species diverse nationally, and this work has shown that this rich diversity also extends to seafloor habitat types, and the fish species which live in them. As an additional bonus, a number of new species of red algae were also discovered."


Frogfish

The use of GoPro cameras is a new science technology development for the team, developed from NIWA technician Crispin Middleton’s strong interests in underwater photography (having won several underwater photography competitions). Video from the cameras revealed some surprises, with a juvenile white shark bumping into the camera bait pot as it swam past, and a group of dolphins talking to each other as they checked out the sampling net down on the seafloor under tow.

The seahorse is undergoing scientific identification to assess whether it is a new species.

Dr Lowe says it will be some time before scientists can confirm its identity and how rare it is worldwide. It is about 3 cm long and predominantly brown in colour.

Meanwhile, the Ministry for Primary Industries has just released a report that reviews existing knowledge about fisheries species and their linkages to biogenic habitats.

It is hoped the review, written by NIWA [available at http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-resources/publications], will help act as a catalyst for future management initiatives which include the role of these habitats and take into account how they are affected by human activity on land and at sea.

“Biogenic habitats are important, but have largely been ignored in the past. There are still huge knowledge gaps but this gives us the fundamental framework to go forward,” Dr Lowe says.

“As living habitats, they are vulnerable to being damaged. Anything that reduces or eliminates these habitats will produce a cascade through the system, and may ultimately negatively impact the number of fish growing to adulthood, and hence fisheries production.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Royal Society: Review Finds Community Water Fluoridation Safe And Effective

A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Croxley Calls Time On NZ Production In Face Of Cheap Imports

Croxley Stationery, whose stationery brands include Olympic, Warwick and Collins, plans to cease manufacturing in New Zealand because it has struggled to compete with lower-cost imports in a market where the printed word is giving way to electronic communications. More>>

ALSO:

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Igniting The Spark: Bringing The Digital Enabler To Life

Changing a name is, relatively speaking, the easy part of a re-invention. Changing a culture, getting all the ducks in a row, turning yourself inside-out to become customer-inspired is a much bigger challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Ebola And NZ: Targeted Screening At Airport But Risk Low

The risk of any cases of Ebola in New Zealand remains very low, but health and border authorities are well prepared... anyone arriving in New Zealand who in the last three weeks has visited countries affected will be screened for symptoms of the disease. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Brewer Seeking Crowd-Funding Cancels Shareholders’ Dividends

Shareholders in Renaissance Brewing company, the first business to seek equity through crowd-funding in New Zealand, have cancelled their claim on $147,000 of accumulated earnings “to make Renaissance a more attractive investment opportunity.” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news