Survey Techniques in Marine Ecology

  • Ben P. HarveyEmail author
  • Koetsu Kon
  • Sylvain Agostini


Marine ecology is about the study of living things in the ocean and how they interact with their environment. A central aspect of marine ecology is therefore understanding what, where, and when species are located in the marine environment. When we wish to know what fauna and flora are present in a particular habitat, it would not typically be feasible to simply count every individual of every species present (as this would be hugely time consuming and logistically difficult). Instead, survey techniques can be used to break this onerous task down into ‘samples’, which together give a representative assessment of the habitat in general, providing important information on the species composition, density, and structure of communities (while being achievable in a more realistic timeframe). A number of different survey techniques exist for assessing species abundance and distribution, each more suitable for answering particular questions, or for making assessments of particular habitats, taxonomic groups, and/or body sizes. In this section, we will outline the most common survey techniques used in marine ecology and indicate some of the considerations needed for using each approach.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Shimoda Marine Research CenterUniversity of TsukubaShimodaJapan

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