Evaluation of the In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS): Comparison with the traditional (bongo net) sampler

Robert K. Cowen, Adam T. Greer, Cedric M. Guigand, Jonathan A. Hare, David E. Richardson, Harvey J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Plankton and larval fish sampling programs often are limited by a balance between sampling frequency (for precision) and costs. Advancements in sampling techniques hold the potential to add considerable efficiency and, therefore, add sampling frequency to improve precision. We compare a newly developed plankton imaging system, In Situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System (ISIIS), with a bongo sampler, which is a traditional plankton sampling gear developed in the 1960s. Comparative sampling was conducted along 2 transects ~30-40 km long. Over 2 days, we completed 36 ISIIS tow-yo undulations and 11 bongo oblique tows, each from the surface to within 10 m of the seafloor. Overall, the 2 gears detected comparable numbers of larval fishes, representing similar taxonomic compositions, although larvae captured with the bongo were capable of being identified to lower taxonomic levels, especially larvae in the small (<5 mm), preflexion stages. Size distributions of the sampled larval fishes differed considerably between these 2 sampling methods, with the size range and mean size of larval fishes larger with ISIIS than with the bongo sampler. The high frequency and fine spatial scale of ISIIS allow it to add considerable sampling precision (i.e., more vertical sections) to plankton surveys. Improvements in the ISIIS technology (including greater depth of field and image resolution) should also increase taxonomic resolution and decrease processing time. When coupled with appropriate net sampling (for the purpose of collecting and verifying the identification of biological samples), the use of ISIIS could improve overall survey design and simultaneously provide detailed, process-oriented information for fisheries scientists and oceanographers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFishery Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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