The application of adaptive cluster sampling for rare subtidal macroalgae
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Adaptive cluster sampling (ACS) is a targeting sampling method that provides unbiased abundance estimators for populations of rare species that may be inadequately sampled with simple random sampling (SRS). ACS has been used successfully to estimate abundances of rockfish and sardine larvae from shipboard surveys. In this study, we describe the application of ACS for subtidal macroalgae. Using SCUBA, we measured abundances of Codium mamillosum, C. pomoides, and Halimeda cuneata at three islands and two levels of wave exposure. The three species were relatively patchy and could be sampled with ACS at one site per dive. Their distributions differed among islands and with exposure to wave energy, with H. cuneata found at only one island. ACS is a useful tool for understanding the spatial distribution and abundance of populations of rare benthic species, but, as was the case in this study, may not be as efficient as sampling with SRS with comparable replication.
KeywordsRare Species Simple Random Sampling Halimeda Quadrat Size Adaptive Cluster Sampling
We thank P. Rose for captaining the vessel. We also thank K. Murray and M. Feng who assisted with carrying out the statistics, and G. Kendrick for thoughtful discussions. We thank T. Philippi for publishing the ACS macro. We thank G. Brown for providing support in the field. Previous versions were greatly improved from the insightful comments of three anonymous reviewers and S. Connell. NAG was supported by University of Western Australia Faculty Grant. Sampling conducted in this study complies with the laws of Australia.
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