Research Description

FISHWATCH is a project studying marine fish behavior, movements, and species groupings in continental shelf waters off the coast of the state of Georgia. Collaborating in this study are the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Marine Resources Division, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and the US Naval TACTS program. The study is funded in part by the Office of Naval Research, National Ocean Partnership Program. The study is conducted with an observational system of 6 underwater cameras that monitor the activities around an artificial reef habitat. The artificial reef consists of concrete pyramids that were deployed in the spring of 1999. Since then, extensive invertebrate growth has occurred on these pyramids. These artificial reefs attract fish typically found in reef habitats, and the cameras monitor their activity. The video gathered is in the form of 10 second clips. The clips are in black and white and the quality is limited by the factors present on site, including water turbidity, fish activity, time of day, and surface conditions.
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The FISHWATCH project has both educational and research objectives. The main goal of this education section is to make the research information that is being collected available to students, teachers, and the general public in a clear, and interesting format and accompany the video clips with information regarding the species and their behaviors. Using the video archive as a resource, teachers and other educators can create activities and lessons for students to learn more about assemblages of fish that inhabit regional reef ecosystems of the South Atlantic Bight continental shelf.

Natural reefs of the continental shelf are made up of outcrops of rocky ridges and geological structures that exist throughout the region (more can be found about the geology of fish habitats by linking to Project Oceanica web site). Because of the rocky bottom and warm Gulf Stream water, these hard bottom reefs and oceanographic features support assemblages of reef fishes. The oceanography of this region, which plays a critical part in the lives of reef fishes, is being monitored by the SABSOON and SEACOOS projects, and can linked to from the Fish Watch site. The fish inhabitants of reefs on the continental shelf of the Southeastern United States are made up of “resident” and “transient” species, whose need for food, shelter and environmental conditions dictate their permanent (resident) or temporary (transient) presence at any time of year. For an article on the status of fisheries resources in the world's oceans please visit the website of The World Fisheries.

The video collected in this study is organized by species' presence on the reef (residents / common visitors / uncommon visitors). Some information regarding species' physical and behavioral characteristics accompanies the video clips. For more in-depth descriptions of the species of fish seen here, as well as many others, refer to the sites and

This research and educational effort is part of the SouthEast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEA-COOS, under the South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Ocean Observing Network (SABSOON, The work is funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research. Charlie Barans of South Carolina Marine Resources Division is the Principal Investigator. The fishwatch educational web presence thanks to Project Oceanica, College of Charleston, for any question please contact Dewey Golub. For further information or suggestions please contact;