Reef and Fishery Assessment of Navassa Island National Wildlife Refuge

On April 23, 2009 scientists from the NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami Florida (SEFSC) departed from San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. Their destination: the Navassa National Wildlife Refuge. Along with the NOAA scientists are researchers from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM/RSMAS), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), an NGO based in Haiti.
This work is funded by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

RVC fish count update

After 5 days of diving, 34 RVC sites (72 fish counts) have been completed. Since the weather has abated somewhat, we have been able to sample the north sites, where the habitat is different from the west side, so more species are being seen. Over 15,000 individual fishes from 102 species, with another two species new to Navassa, have been seen. The sailor’s choice grunt (Haemulon parra) and the lionfish (see lionfish blogs) have now been documented. Planktivores are again the most common trophic level; the most common species have been the creole wrasse and blue chromis, comprising 41% of the total number. Of the carnivores, the coney (114) and graysby (42), are still the most common groupers, but the Nassau (6), rock hind (1), yellowmouth (3) and scamp (4) groupers are also being recorded. The snapper complex is represented by the dog (5), schoolmaster (41) and yellowtail (1). An almaco jack and a few bar jacks have been observed, and the black durgon (584) is the most common triggerfish. Grunt species are extremely rare, only 6 French and 1 sailor’s choice being seen. Even though our RVC team has not seen a hogfish, the coral group has observed (see picture) a large individual. Long-spine diadema are being seen in almost 20% of our samples, greater numbers (30) than during past cruises. Very few queen conch and spiny lobsters are being recorded.
Photo by Margaret Miller
Dave Mc, Jack, Natalia, Joe, Dave G, and Mike

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