MEPS 440:285-288 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09419

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Sampling bivalves on tidal flats: possibility of ­missing rare species, versus smoothing of ­environmental variation

Tanya J. Compton1,2,*, Casper Kraan3, Micha J. A. Rijkenberg2, Tineke A. Troost4, Danny I. Rogers5, Jutta Leyrer6, Grant Pearson7, Theunis Piersma2,8

1National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), PO Box 1115, Hillcrest, Hamilton 3216, New Zealand
2Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands
3Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
4Deltares, PO Box 177, 2600 MH Delft, The Netherlands
5Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, 123 Brown Street, PO Box 137, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia
6Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Locked Bag 20000, Geelong, Victoria 3220, Australia
7Bishop Street, Jolimont, Western Australia 6014,Australia
8Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT: Beukema & Dekker (2011; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 440:281−283) argue that the main conclusion of Compton et al. (2008; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 373:25–35), namely that diversity of bivalve and other benthic organisms on tidal flats is not associated with sediment heterogeneity, is invalid because γ-diversity was not examined. Our conclusion was, however, based on γ-diversity. ­Beu­kema & Dekker (2011) also argue that our finding that bivalve point diversity was highest in ‘complex’ fine-grained sediments is incorrect, because small sampling areas underestimate rare species. Using larger sampling areas would have increased the probability of including rare ­species, but would also have smoothed away biological and environmental heterogeneity. We used many estimates of point diversity to show that bivalve diversity at a sampling point was higher in finer versus sandier sediments across 9 mudflats and we did not make assumptions about the homogeneity of habitat types. The suggestion that samples should be aggregated on the basis of similar environmental attributes across an area as large as the Wadden Sea would also lead to an under- or overestimation of species diversity because—although sampling locations may share the same sediment characteristics—species composition within a sample will differ due to historical, physical and biological effects.


KEY WORDS: Species diversity · Sample area · Sediment · Bivalves


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Cite this article as: Compton TJ, Kraan C, Rijkenberg MJA, Troost TA and others (2011) Sampling bivalves on tidal flats: possibility of ­missing rare species, versus smoothing of ­environmental variation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 440:285-288. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09419

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