Ecovolunteers study the "reserve effect" on fish in the natural marine reserve.
This was a joint study involving ecovolunteer amateur divers (managed by Peau-Bleue association) together with scientists from the Cerbère-Banyuls marine reserve and several research laboratories: CEFREM (Perpignan University - CNRS), ECOMERS (Nice - Sophia Antipolis University) and OOB (Banyuls sur Mer Oceanological Observatory).
Studying reserve effect on fish
This project was meant to study the reserve effect on fish and its long term evolution in the Cerbère-Banyuls natural marine reserve, by comparing the 2011 results with a similar study made in 1997.
To achieve this, the field teams had to estimate the abundance of selected fish species (subject to fishing or other human impacts), especially taking into account large size fish. Abundance estimates were made in the marine reserve (sectors with fishing regulation, and maximum protection zone) and outside the reserve. For more information, you can download the research project summary (in French).
241 transects made
The ecovolunteer team was composed of eight amateur divers managed by our scientific manager Patrick Louisy, helped by Robert Oms. They worked in the areas of the reserve where amateur diving is permitted (Cap l'Abeille) and outside the reserve (Canadell islets), and made 153 transects. Transects in the maximum protection zone (Rédéris) were made by scientists and employees of the marine reserve (88 transects).
Data analysis shows a clear reserve effect on some species (more numerous and larger sized in protected areas), that tends to increase with time (brown grouper for instance). However, some species show a paradoxal trend between 1997 and 2011; this may lead to interesting ecological hypotheses.