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Benthic and substrate cover data derived from photo-transect surveys in Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef conducted on October 3-7, 2012

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1594/pangaea.807406
  • File Content
  • File Name
  • Lizard_Island
  • Lizard Island
  • Northern Great Barrier Reef
  • Uniform Resource Locator/Link To File


Underwater georeferenced photo-transect surveys were conducted on October 3-7, 2012 at various sections of the reef and lagoon at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. For this survey a snorkeler swam while taking photos of the benthos at a set distance from the benthos using a standard digital camera and towing a GPS in a surface float which logged the track every five seconds. A Canon G12 digital camera was placed in a Canon underwater housing and photos were taken at 1 m height above the benthos. Horizontal distance between photos was estimated by three fin kicks of the survey snorkeler, which corresponded to a surface distance of approximately 2.0 - 4.0 m. The GPS was placed in a dry bag and logged the position at the surface while being towed by the photographer (Roelfsema, 2009). A total of 1,265 benthic photos were taken. Approximation of coordinates of each benthic photo was conducted based on the photo timestamp and GPS coordinate time stamp, using GPS Photo Link Software ( Coordinates of each photo were interpolated by finding the GPS coordinates that were logged at a set time before and after the photo was captured. Benthic or substrate cover data was derived from each photo by randomly placing 24 points over each image using the Coral Point Count for Microsoft Excel program (Kohler and Gill, 2006). Each point was then assigned to 1 of 79 cover types, which represented the benthic feature beneath it. Benthic cover composition summary of each photo scores was generated automatically using CPCE program. The resulting benthic cover data of each photo was linked to GPS coordinates, saved as an ArcMap point shapefile, and projected to Universal Transverse Mercator WGS84 Zone 55 South.

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