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Free Content Determination of Sampling Strategy for Benthic Macrophytes in Polluted and Unpolluted Coastal Areas

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A study was made to determine the number of sub-samples necessary to estimate number of species (S) and biomass per species (W) of benthic macrophytes in polluted and unpolluted portions of Apalachee Bay (north Florida). Repetitive (0.06 m2) sub-samples taken at fixed stations were analyzed for species accumulation and biomass variability. A computer program was developed to determine the number of sub-samples needed to achieve various levels of species accumulation. Biomass variability within a set of sub-samples was estimated. The ratio standard error/sample mean (SE/x) was used to estimate the number of quadrats needed to keep the standard deviation of a given sub-sample “small” compared to the mean of the total sample. Using predetermined confidence limits (P{x − 2Rx ≤ μ ≤ x + 2Rx} = 0.95), the number of sub-samples needed to attain a given percentage of the true mean of biomass of each species was determined.

It was found that the biomass (dry weight) of relatively dominant species was determined with only a few sub-samples while less prevalent species required increased sampling effort. Data for rare species were found to be unreliable in a quantitative sense. For species representation, it was found that when rare species were excluded from the analysis, stations characterized by low numbers of species (S) and reduced biomass (W) required a greater sampling effort for comparable results. When rare species were included, stations with high S and W values or with very low S values required more samples to achieve species representation. Such patterns of variation were viewed as functions of relative dominance and species distribution; when dominance was low, fewer sub-samples were needed for significant results. It was concluded that by using small repetitive sub-samples and relatively simple statistical analyses, the level of significance for numbers of species and biomass/species in a range of environmental situations could be assessed. In addition to the development of a reasonable sampling strategy, this method allowed a reduction of the overall sampling effort due to more efficient use of the data.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1976-10-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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