Steve Lindfield

Scope of work

Dr. Steve Lindfield was based in Palau at CRRF from early 2016 to late 2019 and continues to assist us on ongoing projects. His main research focus is on fish ecology and fisheries. He is interested in how fish communities respond to fishing pressure and the best management approaches for increasing the sustainability of coral reef fisheries. He is also particularly interested in how fish communities change over depth gradients into the deep ‘mesophotic’ coral ecosystems and how fish spawning aggregations form and function.

Steve is a specialist in the use of stereo-video techniques for counting and measuring the size of fish. He applies this method for diving surveys to survey vast areas of coral reefs, assessing fish spawning aggregations, benthic surveys of corals and also for sampling fish markets. See more under the stereo-video page (here).

Steve is an experienced scientific diver with AAUS and ADAS qualifications and has been diving with closed circuit rebreather (CCR) since 2008. He applies this bubble-free technical diving to expand the depth ranges for diving fieldwork (to 120 m) and also to minimize the behavioral effects of fishes towards divers.

About Steve

Steve grew up grew up on the Central Coast of NSW, Australia. Since his first breaths on SCUBA at the age of 12 with his father, a commercial fisherman, the ocean was already a major part of his life. After completing his marine science degree with first class honours at the University of Newcastle, in 2008 he was selected as the Australasian Rolex Scholar for the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society, which allowed him to travel outside Australia for the first time. This scholarship took him around world for a year diving and learning about pressing marine conservation issues. After world-wide experiences, Steve was hooked on the tropical reefs of the Pacific and started his PhD on the impacts of fishing on coral reef fish, for which he based his research in the Mariana Islands and Yap’s outer islands in Micronesia. After this he spent most of his time in Indonesia and in 2014 moved to Palau and spent 5 years conducting various research projects and raising a family with his partner Vanessa Jaiteh.

For more details you can download Steve’s CV here:

Contact details

Coral Reef Research Foundation
PO Box 1765
Koror, 96940
Republic of Palau

[email protected]


+680 488-5255 (Office)

Publications and downloads

Steve’s publications can be found on his ResearchGate profile  and on Google scholar. Please email for copies of papers that cannot be accessed from these links.

Published papers

Sadovy De Mitcheson, Y.J., Colin, P.L, Lindfield, S.J., Bukurrou, A. (2020). A decade of monitoring an Indo-Pacific grouper spawning aggregation: Benefits of protection and importance of survey design. Frontiers in Marine Science. 7. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.571878

Andradi-Brown, D.A., Beer, A.J., Colin, L., Head, C.E., Hidayat, N.I., Lindfield, S.J., Mitchell, C.R., Pada, D.N., Piesinger, N.M., Ahmadia, G.N., 2020. Highly diverse mesophotic reef fish communities in Raja Ampat, West Papua. Coral Reefs.  doi: 10.1007/s00338-020-02020-7

MacNeil, M.A., Chapman, D.D., Heupel, M., Simpfendorfer, C.A., Heithaus, M., et al. (2020). Global status and conservation potential of reef sharks. Nature 583, 801–806.

Langlois, T., Goetze, J., Bond, T., Monk, J., Abesamis, R.A., et al. (2020). A field and video annotation guide for baited remote underwater stereo-video surveys of demersal fish assemblages. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Colin, P.L., Lindfield, S.J. (2019). Palau, in: Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems. Springer, pp. 285–299.

Colin, P.L., Johnston, T.S., MacKinnon, J.A., Ou, C.Y., Rudnick, D.L., Terrill, E.J., Lindfield, S.J., Batchelor, H. (2019). Ngaraard pinnacle, Palau: an undersea “island” in the flow. Oceanography 32, 164–173.

Goetze, J.S., Bond, T., McLean, D.L., Saunders, B.J., Langlois, T.J., Lindfield, S., Fullwood, L.A., Driessen, D., Shedrawi, G., Harvey, E.S. (2019). A field and video analysis guide for diver operated stereo-video. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10, 1083–1090.

Harasti, D., Williams, J., Mitchell, E., Lindfield, S., Jordan, A. (2018). Increase in relative abundance and size of snapper Chrysophrys auratus within partially-protected and no-take areas in a temperate marine protected area. Frontiers in Marine Science 5.

Harasti, D., Davis, T.R., Mitchell, E., Lindfield, S., Smith, S.D.A. (2018). A tale of two islands: Decadal changes in rocky reef fish assemblages following implementation of no-take marine protected areas in NSW, Australia. Regional Studies in Marine Science 18, 229–236.

Cimino, M., Colin, P., Schramek, T., Lindfield, S., Domeier, M., Terrill, E. (2018.) Oceanographic, acoustic, and remote approaches reveal the spatio-temporal dynamics of blackfin snapper at an aggregation site in Palau. Marine Ecology Progress Series 601, 185–201.

Jaiteh, V.F., Lindfield, S.J., Mangubhai, S., Warren, C., Fitzpatrick, B., Loneragan, N.R., (2016). Higher abundance of marine predators and changes in fishers’ behavior following spatial protection within the world’s biggest shark fishery. Frontiers in Marine Science 3.

Lindfield, S.J., Harvey, E.S., Halford, A.R., McIlwain, J.L., (2015). Mesophotic depths as refuge areas for fishery-targeted species on coral reefs. Coral Reefs 35, 125–137.

Lindfield SJ, Harvey ES, McIlwain JL, Halford AR (2014) Silent fish surveys: bubble-free diving highlights inaccuracies associated with SCUBA-based surveys in heavily fished areas. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 5: 1061-69

Taylor BM, Lindfield SJ, Choat, JH (2014). Hierarchical and scale-dependent effects of fishing pressure and environment on the structure and size distribution of parrotfish communities. Ecography. 38: 520-30.

Lindfield SJ, McIlwain JL, Harvey ES (2014) Depth refuge and the impacts of SCUBA spearfishing on coral reef fishes. PLoS ONE 9: e92628.

Houk, P, Rhodes, K, Cuetos-Bueno, J, Lindfield, S., Fread, V, McIlwain, JL (2012). Commercial coral-reef fisheries across Micronesia: A need for improving management. Coral Reefs 31: 13–26.

Gladstone W, Lindfield S, Coleman M, Kelaher B (2012) Optimisation of baited remote underwater video sampling designs for estuarine fish assemblages. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 429:28-35

Malcolm H, Gladstone W, Lindfield S, Wraith J, Lynch TP (2007) Spatial differences and temporal stability in reef fish assemblages of marine parks in New South Wales, Australia, observed using baited underwater video. Marine Ecology Progress Series 350: 277-290

Technical reports

Lindfield, S., (2017). Palau’s reef fisheries: changes in size and spawning potential from past to present (Technical Report). Coral Reef Research Foundation, Palau

Lindfield, S., (2016). Summary of the 2015 fishery creel and market survey in Palau (Technical Report). Coral Reef Research Foundation, Palau.

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