What are we missing? Advantages of more than one viewpoint to estimate fish assemblages using baited video

Sasha Whitmarsh, Charles Huveneers, Peter Fairweather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Counting errors can bias assessments of species abundance and richness, which can affect assessments of stock structure, population structure and monitoring programmes. Many methods for studying ecology use fixed viewpoints (e.g. camera traps, underwater video), but there is little known about how this biases the data obtained. In the marine realm, most studies using baited underwater video, a common method for monitoring fish and nekton, have previously only assessed fishes using a single bait-facing viewpoint. To investigate the biases stemming from using fixed viewpoints, we added cameras to cover 360° views around the units. We found similar species richness for all observed viewpoints but the bait-facing viewpoint recorded the highest fish abundance. Sightings of infrequently seen and shy species increased with the additional cameras and the extra viewpoints allowed the abundance estimates of highly abundant schooling species to be up to 60% higher. We specifically recommend the use of additional cameras for studies focusing on shyer species or those particularly interested in increasing the sensitivity of the method by avoiding saturation in highly abundant species. Studies may also benefit from using additional cameras to focus observation on the downstream viewpoint.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171993
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2018


  • 360° view
  • Baited underwater video
  • Bias
  • Current orientation
  • Monitoring


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