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A method is presented that allows rapid and accurate measurement of changes in the spatial pattern of space occupation in encrusting organisms. The boundaries of organisms are represented as polygons, and geometric difference calculations are used to establish the perimeters of the areas gained or vacated between sampling dates. The influence of interspecific interactions on occupation of space is also quantified: geometric intersection calculations are used to define the perimeters of the areas gained or lost in overgrowth interactions. A method is presented for estimating the sampling frequency necessary for detection of significant changes in occupation of space. The method provides a means of quantifying not only changes in percent cover and diversity but also the dynamics of colony movement and the rates and outcomes of competitive interactions.

APA Citation

Wethey, D., & Walters, L. (1986). Quantifying Spatial Patterns of Overgrowth in Epibenthic Communities. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 29, 271–278.

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