Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS for short) are one of the newer technological devices being used to study fish communities and biodiversity patterns.
Although a fairly recent marine device, they are becoming commonplace worldwide as a tool to survey fish sizes, abundance, and diversity. BRUVS consist of video cameras (sometimes GoPros) in PVC–acrylic housing held down by weight. At the end of the set up can be a mesh bag or crate filled with food to attract fish, sharks, rays, etc. Some people opt to not put food, so as to see the environment with little interference or influence as possible.
This method is more cost-efficient than using divers (and reduces the personal risk), allowing the video captured to create a permanent record of longer observations that have low observer bias. The stationary BRUVS are harmless to fish and the habitat, and allows for sampling to be done without impact, often attracting the curiosity of fish that are diver-shy. BRUVS can also be deployed in parts out of reach for divers, and with high definition video that can be replayed over and over again, precise and accurate ID and measurement of fish can be achieved. They are also used at night with lights.
Organisations often deploy many BRUVS across a large area, unless their efforts are looking at one specific environment. They usually have a surface marker float that can be easily identified and are picked up after a few hours of filming. The footage is then taken back to the office to be analysed.
It’s not just fish surveying that BRUVS are good for! BRUVS provide detailed images of habitat types, and can monitor reefs, the effects of zoning (closure to fishing) and impacts of oil spills, seismic surveys, etc.
Another use for videos… towed video camera
Not all cameras are BRUVS and stationary. Marine scientists also use high definition towed video cameras, where the camera is towed behind a boat at a pre-determined speed along a transect line (or, survey line). Scientists on board the ship can watch the seabed habitat video in real time, and often the camera will take still pictures at pre-determined intervals. This will then be analysed later to better describe habitats, map seabed biodiversity, and ID any species spotted.
ever heard of bruvs?
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