COREBIO


 

 

Project title: Conditions, resources, enemies and biodiversity: Forces structuring marine communities of the shallow Adriatic Sea - COREBIO
Croatian:  Uvjeti, resursi, neprijatelji i bioraznolikost: Sile koje oblikuju morske zajednice u plitkom Jadranskom moru

Funding: HRZZ - Hrvatska Zaklada za Znanost / Croatian Science Foundation

Duration: 48 months   
Start date: 01.10.2014   
End date: 30.09.2018.


Project summary:  This project is an investigation of the major drivers offish community structure in the shallow Adriatic Sea of Croatia. This information is crucial for the sustainable, scientific management of coastal ecosystems, as required by EU instruments such as the Habitats Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive, and the Common Fisheries Policy.

The major questions asked are:

  1. What are the ecological baselines in Croatia in community structure?
  2. How does anthropogenic activity (harvesting, coastal development) shift community structure from baseline?
  3. How do marine protected areas maintain functional communities?
  4. How is community structure changing over time?

We will investigate these questions using innovative, non-destructive techniques for quantifying fish abundance and size distribution, and benthic habitat quality. These techniques include lure-assisted, underwater visual census which was originally developed in the Schultz laboratory; baited, underwater video; and DGPS¬assisted, towed underwater video.

EU policies require that non-destructive methods for assessment and monitoring replace destructive harvest-based methods currently in widespread use, and these methods are among the most scientifically supported non-destructive methods currently available. These methods will be used to quantify fish community structure and benthic habitat at all major MPAs and former MPAs in Croatia, to compare communities within MPAs to matched locations outside MPAs.

Matched locations will be chosen to test for specific anthropogenic drivers of community structure, such as high fishing pressure, coastal development, marine tourism, aquaculture, and terrestrial runoff. These results will advance our basic understanding of coastal ecosystems, and will be crucial for satisfying Croatia's responsibilities as an EU citizen in MPA construction, management, and monitoring of marine res ources.

Project leader:
prof. dr. sc. Stewart Schultz, University of Zadar

Team members:

doc. dr. sc. Claudia Krushel, University of Zadar

Dubravko Pejdo, mag., University of Zadar

prof. dr. sc. Alen Soldo, University of Split, Odjel za studije mora
doc. dr. sc. Tatjana Bakren-Petricioli, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science
univ.bacc. Donat Petricioli, D.I.I.V. ltd, Zagreb


 

 

Baited, remote underwater video.  Eels Conger conger and Murena helena visiting a sardine bait station on the island of Kurba, Kornati NP, October 2014.  Eels are nocturnal stalk-attack predators in tight spaces, such as dense seagrass, here Posidonia oceanica.  We use BRUV to quantify fish size and assemblages associated with environmental variables such as benthic habitat and human activity, including fishing intensity and shoreline development.


 

 
 

Conference participation

Photos​


Fieldwork

Photos

 

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Year 1 accomplishments:

  1. RAC/SPA Marine Vegetation Conference, presentation by Stewart T. Schultz.
  2. Hiring of Dubravko Pejdo.
  3. Training of graduate students in stereovideography by Dr. Jim Seager (Event Measurement, Calibration).
  4. Upgrading of equipment (BRUV: underwater lights and additional systems).
  5. Stakeholder roundtable discussion of COREBIO goals, methods, and socioeconomic impacts. Presentations by Stewart T. Schultz, Dubravko Pejdo, and Ivana Zubak at the Main Ballroom, University of Zadar.
  6. Multiple BRUV field deployments at Kornati NP and adjacent locations outside the NP by Dubravko Pejdo and Claudia Kruschel.
  7. A total of 300 hours of BRUV video analysis, 25 hours of DOV video analysis, and 30 hours of habitat video analysis.
  8. Multiple benthic habitat RUV field deployments at Kornati and Dugi Otok by Stewart T. Schultz, Tatjana Bakran-Petricioli, and Donat Petricioli.
  9. Field and statistical comparison of lure-assisted visual census and diver-operated video census of fish community and spatial distribution in habitats at Kornati NP, presented at EMBS at Piran Slovenia.
  10. Publication of PLOS ONE paper: Error, Power, and Blind Sentinels: The Statistics of Seagrass Monitoring.
  11. Publication of machine learning paper

Jäger, J., Simon, M., Denzler, J., Wolff, V., Fricke-Neuderth, K., and Kruschel, C. (2015). Croatian fish dataset: Fine-grained classification of fish species in their natural habitat. In T. Amaral, S. Matthews, T. P. S. M. and Fisher, R., editors, Proceedings of the Machine Vision of Animals and their Behaviour (MVAB), pages 6.1–6.7. BMVA Press 10.5244/C.29.MVAB.6 https://dx.doi.org/10.5244/C.29.MVAB.6

 

Publication of Winkler paper

Dubravko Pejdo*, Claudia Kruschel, Stewart Schultz, Danijel Kanski, Ivana Zubak, Martina Markov, Petra Peleš. 2015. Fish monitoring in Kornati National Park: Baited, remote, underwater video (BRUV) versus trammel net sampling. VI. SAVJETOVANJE O MORSKOJ TEHNOLOGIJI in memoriam akademiku Zlatku Winkleru 20. i 21. studenog 2015, Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti – Znanstveno vijeće za pomorstvo, Tehnički fakultet Sveučilišta u Rijeci. First presentation to Croatian audience of COREBIO method of BRUV and its technical advantages for testing COREBIO hypotheses in the Croatian Adriatic.

 

Manuscripts

Theory of monitoring: shifts from baselines in seagrass metrics

BRUV as a method for assessing community baselines in Adriatic fish


 

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Year 2 accomplishments:

  1. Habitat preferences, abundance and diversity, MPA and human effects in Brijuni and Kornati, community ordinations, habitat videography, catchability for BRUV higher than for trammel nets.
  2. Bait is optimized, Trimble R1 up and running, qGIS set up for Kornati NP GIS, 1-meter photographic resolution, new towfish with two camera system, laptop for realtime GPS tracking on the GIS.
  3. BRUV, LUVC, GRUV, DOV completed in Brijuni and Kornati, LUVC additional sampling in many other locations in Croatia, 6 BRUVS each day for four days inside and 4 days outside, over 2 km benthic video transects in Brijuni and Kornati
  4. A total of 300 hours of BRUV video analysis, 72 hours of bait BITEMAP experiment videography analysis. 25 hours of DOV video analysis, and 30 hours of habitat video analysis.
  5. EMBS conference, CIESM conference presentations of COREBIO results on baseline indicator theory, Kornati in/out results for Scorpaena
  6. New BRUVs constructed, cameras purchased, cables rebuilt
  7. Series of bait experiments on predation intensity by habitat in Brijuni NP that will be matched with community analysis from lure-assisted visual census, using standard international BITEMAP methodology
  8. Field and statistical comparison of lure-assisted visual census and diver-operated video census of fish community and spatial distribution in habitats at Brijuni NP, presented at EMBS at Piran Slovenia.
  9. Conference participation

Stewart T. Schultz, Claudia Kruschel. 2016. CONSERVATION SCIENCE MEETS MEDICINE: ECONOMICS OF DECISION LOGIC IN SCREENING TESTS FOR MARINE ECOLOGICAL HEALTH . Proceedings of the 51st European Marine Biology Symposium, Rhodes, Greece. Poster. Proposes a logical framework for environmental risk assessment using COREBIO monitoring methodology

 

Claudia Kruschel, Tea Ivancic, Radoslava Lakic, Stewart T. Schultz. 2016. The effects of interference interactions on fish communities as assessed by baited remote underwater videography (BRUV). Proceedings of the 41st Congress of the International Commission for Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea, Kiel, Germany, Poster. Fish community assembly is influenced by interference interactions documented in COREBIO BRUV videography.

 

Claudia Kruschel, Sandra Jahn, Ivana Zubak, Stewart T. Schultz. 2016. Experimental evidence for the disruption of predator-prey interactions by chemical pollution. Proceedings of the 41st Congress of the International Commission for Scientific Exploration of the Mediterranean Sea, Kiel, Germany. Talk. Basic experimental result providing mechanism for anthropogenic impact on community assembly results observed using COREBIO methods.

 

Claudia Kruschel, Julia Harras, Stewart T. Schultz. 2016. EFFECT OF ANTHROPOGENIC HABITAT FRAGMENTATION ON FISH COMMUNITIES AT ROCKY SUBSTRATES IN THE EASTERN ADRIATIC SEA. 51st European Marine Biology Symposium, Rhodes, Greece. Results on human impacts on fish community assembly as shown from COREBIO LA-UVC methodology.

 

Claudia Kruschel, Martina Markov, Dubravko Pejdo, Stewart T. Schultz. 2016. INCREASES IN SMALL PREDATORY FISH – PROOF OF EFFECTIVE FISHING REGULATIONS OR ENHANCED PREDATOR RELEASE? A CASE STUDY IN THE MPA KORNATI NATIONAL PARK, CROATIA . Proceedings of the 51st European Marine Biology Symposium, Rhodes, Greece. Talk. First reporting of COREBIO results suggesting top-down control of fish communities.

 

Manuscripts

Habitat preference of fish species as revealed by lure-assisted visual census

Environmental risk assessment with baselines

Abundance ratios in/out of species for MPAs in Croatia

Relative abundance of fish species in response to shoreline development

Fish biodiversity inside/outside MPAs as revealed by BRUVs

 

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Year 3 accomplishments:

  1. Multiple lure-assisted visual census field trips throughout the Croatian coastal islands and mainland

  2. Field and statistical comparison of lure-assisted visual census and diver-operated video census of fish community and spatial distribution in habitats at Mljet NP, presented at EMBS at Piran Slovenia.

  3. Multiple BRUV deployments throughout the Croatian islands and mainland, results presented at EMBS at Piran Slovenia.

  4. Complete revisitation of all 2009 Posidonia/habitat transects at Kornati NP with geopositional underwater videography.

  5. A total of 300 hours of BRUV video analysis, 72 hours of bait BITEMAP experiment videography analysis. 25 hours of DOV video analysis, and 30 hours of habitat video analysis.

  6. Series of bait experiments on predation intensity by habitat in Mljet NP that will be matched with community analysis from lure-assisted visual census, using standard international BITEMAP methodology

  7. BRUV bait experimentation to optimize bait presentation.

6. Publications:
1. Zubak I., Kruschel C., Schultz S.T. 2017. Predators structure fish communities in Posidonia oceanica meadows: meta-
analysis of available data across the Mediterranean basin. Marine Ecology Progress Series 566:145-157. Impact factor: 2.5.


2. Mokos M., Zubac I., Schultz S.T., Kruschel, C. 2017. First record of vertical rhizomes in the seagrass Zostera marina
(Novigrad Sea Croatia). Marine Ecology 2017; 38:e12438.


3. Jahnke M., Casagrandi R., Melia P., Schiavina M., Schultz S.T., Zane L., Procaccini G. 2017. Potential and realized
connectivity of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica and their implication for conservation. Diversity and Distributions 2017:1-12.
Impact factor: 4.8.

Conference participation

Kruschel, Claudia. 2017. Use of Underwater Video in Fish Assessment in HRZZ Project COREBIO. Workshop on Methods in Underwater Videography, University of Barcelona, Spain. May 18-20. Dissemination of COREBIO methods and improvements to scientific colleagues in Europe and north America.

 

Pejdo, D. and Schultz, S.T. and Kruschel, C. 2017. Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV), a Tool for Assessment of Fish Communities in the Adriatic Sea. Workshop on Methods in Underwater Videography, University of Barcelona, Spain. May 18-20. Dissemination of COREBIO methods and improvements to scientific colleagues in Europe and north America.

 

Kruschel, C. Baited remote underwater video, Diver operated video and BITEMAP-SQUIDPOPS – the potential for automated fish recognition.2017 Underwater Video -Techniques Workshop. 19.5.2017. University of Barcelona, Spain. May 18-20. Dissemination of COREBIO methods and improvements to scientific colleagues in Europe and north America.

 

Claudia Kruschel, Jurica Jović, Dubravko Pejdo and Stewart Tyre Schultz.2017. Do lure-assisted underwater visual census (LA-UVC) and diver-operated video census (DOV) detect similar fish communities, habitat mosaics and species-specific habitat preferences? 52nd European Marine Biology Symposium, Piran, Slovenia. Fish community assembly as inferred from alternative COREBIO methodology.

 

Stewart T. Schultz, Dubravko Pejdo and Claudia Kruschel.2017. Lure-assisted visual census documents the effects of both harvest protection and habitat on fish communities in marine protected areas in the eastern Adriatic Sea. 52nd European Marine Biology Symposium, Piran, Slovenia. First reporting of COREBIO results separating effects of shoreline development and harvest restrictions on fish community assembly.

 

Underwater visual census schedule

 

BRUV fieldwork schedule

7-9.07.2017: Mljet

4-7.07.2017: Mljet

20.09.2017: Fažana

19-20.08.2017: Fažana

19-20.08.2017: Iž

21.08.2017: Telašćica

7-11.08.2017: Molat.

5.09.2017: Katina

13.09.2017: Žut

10.2017: Katina in Mljet

Underwater habitat mapping, videography:

23-25.05.2017: Kornati NP

10-11.10.2017: Kornati NP20-23.10.2017: Mljet NP

 

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Year 4 accomplishments:

  1. Lure assisted field work completed at year 3, year 4 transfer/checking of all previous data from lure assisted visual census throughout the Croatian coastal mainland and islands.

  2. Starting of analysis on full LA-UVC dataset

  3. Completed manuscript on portions of the LA-UVC dataset, "Habitat heterogeneity attracts edge-seeking meso-predatory fish" to be submitted before end of 2018.

  4. Entire field season from May to October used by CK to conduct a field experiment to test hypothesis suggested by LA-UVC, namely that heterogeneous environments have unique communities which are defined by high abundance and diversity of mesopredators, particularly wait-chase predators. Experimental treatments were artificial seagrass habitat units of varying complexity and heterogeneity, and response variable was fish prey community structure, predation intensity at BITEMAP bait stations, and treatment dependent predator community. Results will be analyzed to test hypotheses related to predatory trait-based community assembly.

  5. Continued work on automated machine-learning fish recognition system, accuracy of automated fish species ID now at minimum of 95%, and is now in a form that can be applied generally outside COREBIO internationally.

  6. Continued BRUV deployments at Mljet, Fazana, Telascica, completing the COREBIO BRUV deployments allowed by the budget.

  7. Upgrading of benthic habitat videography with submeter accuracy Trimble R1 differential GPS receiver and Juniper systems MESA 2 tablet for real time video monitoring, with Echologger EA 400 and Suunto dive computer

  8. Analysis of Posidonia monitoring results from 2009 to 2017 at Kornati NP showing a 3% mean decline in Posidonia cover within Kornati NP during the last 8 years, preparation of manuscript.

  9. A total of 300 hours of BRUV video analysis, 600 hours of bait BITEMAP experiment videography analysis, and 30 hours of habitat video analysis.

  10. Developed and finalized Mljet NP and Kornati NP GIS with overlays of 30.000 to over 100.000 of geotagged HD photographs of benthic habitat, showing conditions of Posidonia and other habitat components at precise locations throughout the NP GIS, presented to Mljet NP.

  11. Presentation of final COREBIO wrap up and results to general public, University of Zadar, September 27, 2018.

  12. Conference participation

Pejdo, D. and Schultz, S.T. and Kruschel, C. 2018. Statistical properties of alternative methods of fish abundance assessment in baited, remote, underwater video. Oral presentation, EMBS 53, Ostend. 17-21 September. Statistical analysis of time of first appearance as a proxy for abundance and its relation to mode of predation in the COREBIO BRUV methodology.

 

Schultz, S.T., Pejdo, D. and Kruschel, C. 2018. Fish monitoring in the Mediterranean Sea: Statistical power of baited, remote, underwater video is higher than traditional trammel net sampling for fish stock assessment. Oral presentation, EMBS 53, Ostend. 17-21 September. Generalized linear model simulations can be used to evaluate cost/benefits of alternative COREBIO methods of censusing fish populations for community assembly analysis.

 

Claudia Kruschel, Thomas Dietert, Stewart T. Schultz (Croatia). 2018. Simultaneous monitoring of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and its benthic environment by DGPS/video supported visual census in a Central Croatian Adriatic lagoon.  4th International Conference Water resources and wetlands, 5-9 September 2018, Tulcea (Romania)

 

Paper published

 

KRUSCHEL, C., HARRAS, J., BLINDOW, I., & SCHULTZ, S. T. (2017). Do fish assemblages at sites featuring man-made concrete walls differ from those at natural rocky-reef sites?. Annals for Istrian and Mediterranean Studies Series Historia Naturalis, 27(2), 167. LA-UVC method used to test hypothesis of COREBIO on anthropogenic impacts

 

 

 

International collaborations borne from COREBIO

 

1. ZEN – Zostera Experimental Network collaborative fieldwork, and collaborative data sharing, collaborative papers. Our lab is the formal Croatian collaborator in this network, and our fieldwork involved baited stations to evaluate predation intensity in seagrass beds as part of a global effort to understand local, regional, and global processes of predator-prey dynamics in seagrass beds. This work is an extension of the BRUV method used in COREBIO applied in an experimental setting to answer key questions that are also motivating questions in COREBIO. Field work involves training of students, including 10 UNIZD undergraduates in the PZT program, under Claudia Kruschel and Stewart Schultz. A result is the following publication in Ecology, the top-tier journal in this field.

 

Reynolds, Pamela L., John J. Stachowicz, Kevin Hovel, Christoffer Boström, Katharyn Boyer, Mathieu Cusson, Johan S. Eklöf, Claudia Kruschel et al. "Latitude, temperature, and habitat complexity predict predation pressure in eelgrass beds across the Northern Hemisphere." Ecology 99, no. 1 (2018): 29-35.

 

The full project can be seen here:

 

http://zenscience.org/

 

2. Aeres University Netherlands – We are training students in COREBIO methods and concepts from Aeres University, two students in 2017, and another student currently. These students have been trained in the GUV method during field excursions at Kornati National Park (2017), in laboratory behavioral studies of predator/prey interactions and their effect on fish community assembly (2017 and 2018). These students are Mikai Breet, Jordy van Loo, and Nick Kuulman.

 

3. Ocean Bitemap – This is a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC USA, to participate in a global experiment to map predator/prey processes in coastal ecosystems, coordinated by the Smithsonian’s Marine Global Earth Observatory. This is an ongoing crowd source project to develop the first global map of top down control, or feeding activity by fish in marine habitats. Publication is in final stages of writing. This project also involves training of four students in the master’s program in the UNIZD Ecology department in methods used in COREBIO, specifically baited video to assess predator/prey behavior within a manipulative field experiment.

 

https://bitemap.wordpress.com/

 

4. Technical University Fulda – We are developing with TUF an implementation of two entirely novel machine learning programs to identify fish and benthic habitat from video imagery (e.g. BRUV, GUV, and DOV), in collaboration with Jonas Jaeger. We submitted to public domain the first publicly available dataset of seagrass imagery that can be used for machine learning worldwide. These results will greatly speed the process of image analysis and will enable the visualization of quantitative results immediately after field work. Two publications and one joint conference participation were used to date for dissemination. Following are the publications:

 

Jäger, J., Simon, M., Denzler, J., Wolff, V., Fricke-Neuderth, K., and Kruschel, C. (2015). Croatian fish dataset: Fine-grained classification of fish species in their natural habitat. In T. Amaral, S. Matthews, T. P. S. M. and Fisher, R., editors, Proceedings of the Machine Vision of Animals and their Behaviour (MVAB), pages 6.1–6.7. BMVA Press 10.5244/C.29.MVAB.6 https://dx.doi.org/10.5244/C.29.MVAB.6

 

Reus, G., Moeller, T., Jager, J., Schultz, S., Kruschel, C., Hasebhauer, J., Wolff, V., Fricke-Neuderth, K. (2018). Looking for Seagrass: Deep Learning for Visual Coverage Estimation. To appear in MTS/IEEE OCEANS Conference Kobe, 2018. DOI: not yet available. Collaboration with German colleagues to develop automated machine-learning methods to identify COREBIO images of fish in their natural habitat.

 

5. University of Greifswald Germany – direct collaboration with Dr. Sven Dalke, participated in COREBIO fieldwork and fieldwork logistics (boat, SCUBA, photography, GPS) in all years.

 

6. University of Padua – Claudia Kruschel disseminated COREBIO results there November 2017, established basis for future collaboration in fish ecology and genetics, Carlotta Mazoldi and Lorenzo Zane. We plan a future annual summer course in marine field biology in Padua focusing on the methods and concepts developed in COREBIO.

 

7. Hokkaida University, Japan – Disseminated COREBIO results February 2018 in Tokyo and Okinawa, established basis for future collaboration in fish and seagrass ecology with Hokkaida University and the University of Ryukus in Okinawa, Sesoko Marine Station, with collaborator Massa Nakaoka at Hokkaida University. This collaboration will involve the use of eDNA to assess fish community structure in Croatia.

 

National collaborations borne of COREBIO

 

We are involved in national collaboration within Croatia at all the national parks and protected areas within which we have COREBIO field sites. To date:

 

1. Mjlet National Park – provided them with GIS with 30.000 geotagged HD photos of benthic habitat, tagged to submeter accuracy, contact

 

2. Kornati National Park – similarly developed GIS with 120.000 geotagged HD photos of benthic habitat, tagged to submeter accuracy. We also are collaborating on a joint research project comparing BRUV to trammel fish censusing, and comparing the fish community inside/outside Kornati National Park.

 

3. Brijuni National Park – currently in progress processing and geotagging HD benthic habitat videos to present to Brijuni National Park

 

All our photos throughout the Croatian marine environment will be made publicly available to the landowners and appropriate federal agencies after processing and geotagging.

 

4. Zadar County – We are collaborating with Zadar county on future initiatives using COREBIO methods in a citizen science project to create large datasets on fish population dynamics and benthic habitat changes over the entire Croatian shallow marine environment. Contacts are Lucia Kolega and the Head of the Department for Economy, Tourism, Infrastructure and EU funds. We will apply for funding in the next round of pertinent EU calls.

 

 

Student trainings in COREBIO: all four years