Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

An integrated data management and video system for sampling aquatic benthos

Julian A. Tyne A C , Neil R. Loneragan A , Michael Krützen B A , Simon J. Allen A and Lars Bejder A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Cetacean Research Unit, School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, South Street, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia.

B Evolutionary Genetics Groups, Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Marine and Freshwater Research 61(9) 1023-1028
Submitted: 24 September 2009  Accepted: 5 March 2010   Published: 23 September 2010


Remote video systems can be expensive, slow to deploy and the data recorded may not be available until the system has been retrieved. To overcome these issues, a rapid, non-destructive and cost-effective remote video and data management system was developed to record benthic habitats in Shark Bay, Western Australia. This system comprises a downward-oriented video camera, linked to a laptop computer, attached to the apex of a stainless steel pyramid to film a 1-m2 area of benthos. The video image of the substratum, spatial coordinates, depth and temperature are recorded in a database at the time of deployment. A web interface was developed to manage the database and examine the video images to determine the percentage cover of seagrass, sponge type (conical/non-conical) and the total number of sponges in the quadrat. Using this system, 1380 video quadrats were collected from a study area of ~248 km2, ranging in water depth from 2 m to 16 m. An average of 16.4 (±1.3 s.e.) samples was recorded every hour during 15 days. This system could be modified to quantify substratum components at a greater taxonomic resolution or to record details of the mobile fauna.


The authors would like to thank Shark Bay Resources and Mitsui for their extensive logistical support in this project and the Useless Loop community for making us feel so at home while conducting field work. Financial support was provided by National Geographic Society, Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation, Claraz-Schenkung Switzerland, The A.H. Schultz Foundation, Switzerland, Julius-Klaus Foundation Switzerland, University of Zurich and Murdoch University. We would also like to thank Murray Lindau for constructing the camera frame and Anna Kopps and Marty Pepper for their invaluable assistance in the field. We thank the two anonymous referees and the editor of MFR for their time and constructive comments on the manuscript.


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