A remote photographic technique for high replication, large scale understanding of spatial distribution patterns of intertidal crabs

Vermeiren, Peter, and Sheaves, Marcus (2014) A remote photographic technique for high replication, large scale understanding of spatial distribution patterns of intertidal crabs. Hydrobiologia, 724 (1). pp. 79-89.

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Intertidal crabs are intricately involved in many estuarine processes. However, their integration in general applicable ecological models is limited by a lack of understanding regarding their landscape level spatial distribution patterns. This gap, in part, reflects on the time consuming sampling methods employed which limit the scale and level of replication in spatial distribution studies. We developed a new photographic technique tailored towards high replication, large scale sampling of spatial distribution patterns of intertidal crabs occupying bare, low intertidal banks with limited topographic heterogeneity. Therefore, photographs were taken from a boat maintained at a distance at which crabs were not disturbed. After standardisation, estimates of abundance, relative occurrence and presence/absence of crabs were reliably obtained. Compared to pitfall trapping, hand catch and visual observation, photography collected a higher number of replicates in a shorter timeframe, allowing sampling across large areas and providing better representation of species occurring in lower densities. However, small, cryptic species were not as well represented and outcomes are influenced by the crab's activity patterns. Overall, photography provides a new, complementary sampling technique and has the potential to rapidly produce extensive data on crab spatial distributions, making it attractive for landscape level spatial ecology research and monitoring.

Item ID: 31710
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5117
Keywords: photography, sampling, spatial distribution, intertidal environment, Decapoda, Australia
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The online version of this article (doi: 10.1007/s10750-013-1726-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users

Funders: James Cook University
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2014 09:59
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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