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Use of High-Resolution DIDSON Sonar to Quantify Attributes of Predation at Ecologically Relevant Space and Time Scales

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Predator-prey interactions of large vagile fishes are difficult to study in the ocean due to limitations in the space and time requirements for observations. Small-scale direct underwater observations by divers (ca. <10 m radius) and large-scale hydroacoustic surveys (10 s m2 to 100 s km2) are traditional approaches for surveying fish. However, large piscivorous predators identify and attack prey at the scale of meters to tens of meters. Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (or DIDSON) is a high-resolution acoustic camera operating in the MHz range that provides detailed continuous video-like imaging of objects up to a range of 30 m. This technology can be used to observe predator-prey interactions at ecologically relevant space and time scales often missed by traditional methods. Here we establish an approach for quantifying predation-related behaviors from DIDSON records. Metrics related to predator and prey group size, prey responses to predation, predation rate, predator strategies, and the nonrandom use of landscape features by both predator and prey are described. In addition, relationships between patterns in these attributes are tested and issues regarding sampling strategies for future studies are discussed. We suggest that approaches combining direct visual observation and acoustic sampling at multiple scales are required to quantify variation in these relationships across underwater landscapes.
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Keywords: behavior; hydroacoustics; predator; prey; reef

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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