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The Influence of Thematic and Spatial Resolution on Maps of a Coral Reef Ecosystem

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Four maps of a reef ecosystem were created using two levels of both spatial and thematic resolution commonly used in science and management applications. Differences among maps were quantified using ecologically meaningful landscape indices. The objective was to inform research and management activities that are based on maps of reef ecosystems. Results indicate that inferences regarding the structure and organization of reef ecosystems are sensitive to changes in resolution of the maps characterizing them. Hard bottom, sand, and patchy features were the most sensitive to change in map resolution whereas continuous seagrass beds and linear reef features were not.
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Keywords: Benthic mapping; coastal management; landscape ecology; resampling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biogeography Team, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA 2: Chesapeake Biological Lab, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, Solomons, Maryland, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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