Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 153, Issue 1–4, pp 427–434 | Cite as

Staggered nested designs to assess scales of variability: the advantages of a spatially explicit analysis



A staggered nested sampling design was used to identify spatial scales of variation in the abundance of an intertidal clam Austrovenus stutchburyi. A georeferenced sampling design permitted assessment of abundance at spatial lags between 0.1 and 87 m. An analysis of variance approach produced imprecise estimates of variability, whereas spatially explicit analyses improved the resolution greatly. A geostatistical model identified the spatial scale of residual variance as 13 m and that of the asymptote of spatial dependence as 17 m. It also permitted mapping of bivalve abundance. Staggered nested designs are highly efficient for comparing hierarchies of scale, but in this study analysis of detailed positional information was required to tease out useful spatial information.


Clam Geostatistics Scale Spatial pattern Staggered nested design 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchNelsonNew Zealand

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