Monitoring bioeroding sponges: Using rubble, quadrat, or intercept surveys?

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Abstract

© 2015 Marine Biological Laboratory. Relating to recent environmental changes, bioerosion rates of calcium carbonate materials appear to be increasing worldwide, often driven by sponges that cause bioerosion and are recognized bioindicators for coral reef health. Various field methods were compared to encourage more vigorous research on bioeroding sponges and their inclusion in major monitoring projects. The rubble technique developed by Holmes et al. (2000) had drawbacks often due to small specimen sizes: it was time-costly, generated large variation, and created a biased impression about dominant species. Quadrat surveys were most rapid but overestimated cover of small specimens. Line intercepts are recommended as easiest, least spatially biased, and most accurate, especially when comparing results from different observers. Intercepts required fewer samples and provided the best statistical efficiency, evidenced by better significances and test power. Bioeroding sponge abundances and biodiversities are influenced by water depth, sediment quality, and most importantly by availability of suitable attached substrate. Any related data should thus be standardized to amount of suitable substrate to allow comparison between different environments, concentrating on dominant, easily recognized species to avoid bias due to experience of observers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-155
JournalBiological Bulletin
Volume228
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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