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Vavanga village is located beside one of Kolombangara's 80 rivers, meaning that the Vavanga reef system is especially unique. A naturally turbid coral reef is found at the mouth of the river; however, due to a period of logging that occurred during the 1980s, there is also an anthropogenically turbid coral reef. As you move further along the reef, away from the river, a more naturally pristine coral reef environment emerges.

We plan to investigate the foraging dynamics of the coral reef fish along this turbidity continuum. Specifically, we will look at how much energy the fish are expending while foraging on the reef matrix. This is how we will do it:

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Step One

While in the Solomon Islands, we set up a system of GoPro cameras that were left out on the reef to capture video footage of reef fish foraging. These cameras were set up in different locations along the reef flat and varying turbidities and depths.

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Step Two

The analysis begins. Our graduate student Emily will analyse hundreds of hours of footage using stereo-video software to measure fish length and bite rates. This software also enables her to track the fish in a 3D space to better understand their movement patterns.

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Step Three

The results will include a comparison between the pristine and turbid reef environments. Whilst providing an understanding of how anthropogenic disturbances can alter coral reefs, these results can also provide the community of Vavanga with a better understanding of the changes that are occurring on their reef.

Here, Julian explains the stereo-video aspect of this project:

The main collaborators involved in this part of the research are

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