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October 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 30, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Divers, Your Very Presence Affects Reef Fish Behavior

from the October, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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While fish on heavily dived reefs in, say, the Caribbean may be accustomed to seeing divers, does that mean they've adjusted to their presence? That's what researchers from Ohio State University wanted to know, so they studied the interactions between cleaners like wrasses and shrimp with their "client" reef fishes on two reefs with differing levels of diver usage.

In a study published in the online journal PLOS One, they compared the frequently-dived house reef of the Coral View Resort in Utila, Honduras, to an unmarked reef with far fewer divers in a marine preserve in the nearby Cayos Cochinos, observing cleaning activities among 18 fish types for a maximum of five dives a day. They also set up GoPros to film cleanings when no divers were around....

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