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A novel approach to measuring subtidal habitat complexity

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Craig Rose, Professor Martin Downie



Habitat complexity plays an important role in determining benthic community structure. A diverse range of methods for its measurement have been adopted but none are convenient for use underwater where access time is at a premium. We describe a novel, calibrated, tool for rapidly measuring scale-dependent habitat complexity developed, primarily, for use underwater. This tool is based on a distance-wheel with interchangeable wheels of different sizes to allow a scale-dependent measure of distance. This technique was calibrated against a profile of known complexity, at relevant scales, and then trialed on the Loch Linnhe Artificial Reef, a replicated artificial substratum offering two different scale-dependent habitat complexities. The distance-wheel was cost-effective, simple to fabricate and enabled the rapid and straightforward measurement of perceived distance over the step-length range of 133-1020 mm. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wilding TA, Rose CA, Downie MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Year: 2007

Volume: 353

Issue: 2

Pages: 279-286

Print publication date: 28/12/2007

ISSN (print): 0022-0981

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2007.10.001


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