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Snapper behaviour research a Tawharanui Marine Reserve

EcoQuest students conduct research on snapper behaviour.

“In April a group of students from the University of New Hampshire in the eastern USA carried out behavioural studies on snapper at Leigh and Tawharanui Marine Reserves.  The Ecoquest Education Foundation twice a year brings students from the USA to NZ on a 3-month course of environmental education as part of their undergraduate studies.

One of their projects this tour was to assess the impact of snorkelling tourists on snapper behaviour in the marine reserves.
This particular project is a new one for this year.

Basically they found that the snapper at Leigh are more habituated to snorkellers than those at Tawharanui because far more visitors have been interacting with snapper at Leigh than at Tawharanui.  The behaviour of snapper at Tawharanui is thus a bit more "natural" than at Leigh.

The following pictures illustrate parts of the project, and some of the difficulties encountered, when the students were working at Tawharanui in April this year."

Roger Grace



A bit of a tangle with the transect line at the start


Molly finally lays out the transect line 

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Kelsey prepares to record data. The snapper start to get the idea and begin to hang around  


Molly tries to round up a snapper


Molly finally has a nice snapper in her sights

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Recording data as the snapper do their thing 


 Snapper passing through the "research" zone  


Snapper wondering what all the fuss is about


  This one makes "goo-goo eyes" at the photographer (Roger Grace) Sponsors