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Parks Victoria standard operating procedure biological monitoring of intertidal reefs


, : Parks Victoria standard operating procedure biological monitoring of intertidal reefs. Parks Victoria Technical Series ch; 21: i-iv, 1-47

Intertidal reefs support unique suites of species specially adapted to living under the constant influence of incoming and outgoing tides. Intertidal reef assemblages include large macroalgal species, herbivorous and carnivorous invertebrates such as gastropods and seastars as well as many suspension feeding species. Biological communities on intertidal reefs are particularly susceptible to change and impacts caused by human activities because they are in close proximity to land-based activities and are easily accessible to visitors. In Victoria, important intertidal reefs are protected within a system of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries. To effectively manage and conserve these important and biologically rich habitats, the Victorian Government has established a long-term biological monitoring program for intertidal reefs. Biological monitoring is done to characterise macrobenthic intertidal reef communities, identify important spatial variation in populations and communities across reefs, to determine the nature and magnitude of natural changes in species populations and communities over time and to detect impacts on species populations and communities through comparison with appropriate reference sites. This report documents the Standard Operating Procedure for the Intertidal Reef Monitoring Program. The objectives of the Standard Operating Procedure are to describe in detail: . standardised monitoring methods that can be tailored to different intertidal reefs to meet monitoring objectives; and . standardised and controlled techniques so that comparable and high quality data are collected from all monitoring operations. On each intertidal reef the biota is quantitatively surveyed using visual census of quadrats distributed along transects across the survey area. Specific survey techniques are used to determine the cover-abundance of macroalgal species and aggregating invertebrates and for determining the abundance of mobile macroinvertebrates. The size of commonly collected species is also measured. The Victorian Government is making the intertidal monitoring method openly and freely available to encourage its broad use across intertidal reef habitats in Victoria or elsewhere.

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