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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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A subset of the diverse macroinvertebrates inhabiting nearshore sub-Arctic sediments, in which sampling effort can drastically alter inferences on diversity patterns.

Photo/Graphic: Mary Clinton

Clinton ME, Snelgrove PVR, Bates AE

Macrofaunal diversity patterns in coastal marine sediments: re-examining common metrics and methods

Accurate quantification of diversity is one of the primary, ongoing challenges of ecological research. Clinton and co-authors use a large number of replicate samples, relative to most seafloor studies, to describe benthic macroinfaunal diversity in 3 nearshore sub-Arctic sites. They determine that typical sampling efforts may not adequately capture community composition in these systems, potentially obscuring hotspots in common diversity metrics such as taxonomic or functional richness. However, indices such as Simpson’s diversity may be well-suited to resource-limited studies with restricted sampling capacity. Adopting multi-pronged approaches to biodiversity assessment and determining optimal sample sizes for marine benthic systems will be essential to assess natural communities, particularly in the context of biodiversity monitoring for conservation purposes.


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