Investigator Group Expedition 2006: Benthic Macroalgal Studies at Islands in the Eastern Great Australian Bight Over Three Decades

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Studies of benthic macroalgae have been undertaken in the Investigator Group and at St Francis Isles for over three decades, and methods of study have changed from quadrat-based biomass data and general collections, to nondestructive, line-intercept transects (LIT), in which cover of species is recorded. We review the utility of classifying data into different structural groups, based on form, and compare this with biomass data. The time series of data enabled a comparison of quadrat-based biomass data between the 1970s and 1990s surveys at Pearson I. and at St Francis I, and comparison of structural group data for Pearson I., providing examples of both stability (and change) in macroalgal assemblages over a 22–24 year period. While the LIT approach for sampling cannot accurately record species' richness, it is valuable for temporal comparisons, and for studies of ecosystem function and health.
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