Ecocean's technology and know-how allows researchers and fisheries managers to identify which species return to colonize the coastal habitat, and when and in what numbers they arrive to reinforce the established populations.
The capture devices are adapted for sampling in different locations, which can provide valuable and otherwise unobtainable information about the connectivity and dynamic of populations. Ecocean's innovative PCC technology opens up a whole range of new opportunities for marine scientific research and data collection. This will be of great interest to research laboratories working in a variety of areas.
The main research areas are :
Fishing stock estimation for coastal demersal species:
If the quantity of post larvae is insufficient, the population cannot be fully renewed. Currently, detection of any decline in population relies on observing the quantity of adult fish over time, by which time it is often too late to take any corrective action. PCC makes it possible to detect any decline in population after only a single reproductive cycle, and thus manage the situation immediately and effectively. Potential applications include quantitative indicators of recruitment which can act as early warning systems, and also qualitative indicators of the state of conservation of the marine environment obtained through measuring the integration of the entire fish population.
Inventory and biodiversity monitoring:
PCC frequently captures species present as post larvae which are not known to be present as adults in the environment (e.g. rabbit fish post larvae are regularly caught on Réunion Island). Therefore species data obtained through PCC is more comprehensive than "classic" census methods, where some species arrive but cannot be captured as adults because of a lake of habitat. It may also indicate that they are invading the area!
Marine Protected Areas:
An MPA can act as a reference model for "normal" population conditions within an ecosystem. The abundance and diversity of species that recruit around a control "MPA observatory" can be compared with less rich or degraded areas. Analysis of post larvae recruitment rates allows accurate comparison of two or more MPAs (in terms of efficiency) or comparison of a reference area with a degraded area.
Regular restocking of adequately reared and conditioned juveniles into a recently protected area will enable more rapid attainment of population equilibrium (resilience). This increase in the resilience can be achieved in terms of abundance, and also in species diversity.
A study of otoliths and DNA sequencing of captures post larvae provides detailed and accurate knowledge of the dynamics of marine animal populations. Research into the connectivity between marine populations is a rapidly growing specialization, which seeks to enable better estimates of the effectiveness of MPAs and, more generally, greater understanding of the overall marine ecosystem.