Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20427
Title: The Roles of Dimensionality, Canopies and Complexity in Ecosystem Monitoring
Contributor(s): Goatley, Christopher  (author)orcid ; Bellwood, David R (author)
Publication Date: 2011
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027307Open Access Link
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/20427
Abstract: Canopies are common among autotrophs, increasing their access to light and thereby increasing competitive abilities. If viewed from above canopies may conceal objects beneath them creating a 'canopy effect'. Due to complexities in collecting 3-dimensional data, most ecosystem monitoring programmes reduce dimensionality when sampling, resorting to planar views. The resultant 'canopy effects' may bias data interpretation, particularly following disturbances. Canopy effects are especially relevant on coral reefs where coral cover is often used to evaluate and communicate ecosystem health. We show that canopies hide benthic components including massive corals and algal turfs, and as planar views are almost ubiquitously used to monitor disturbances, the loss of vulnerable canopy-forming corals may bias findings by presenting pre-existing benthic components as an altered system. Our reliance on planar views in monitoring ecosystems, especially coral cover on reefs, needs to be reassessed if we are to better understand the ecological consequences of ever more frequent disturbances.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: PLoS One, 6(11), p. 1-8
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1932-6203
Field of Research (FOR): 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
050206 Environmental Monitoring
050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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