Comparison of sampling methods to assess benthic marine biodiversity:Are spatial and ecological relationships consistent among sampling gear?

Marine benthic biodiversity can be measured using a range of sampling methods, including benthic sleds or trawls, grabs, and imaging systems, each of which targets a particular community or habitat. Due to the high cost and logistics of benthic sampling, particularly in the deep sea, studies are often limited to only one or two biological sampling methods. Results of biodiversity studies are used for a range of purposes, including species inventories, environmental impact assessments, and predictive modelling, all of which underpin appropriate marine resource management. However, the generality of marine biodiversity patterns identified among different sampling methods is unknown, as are the associated impacts on management decisions.

This report reviews studies that have used two or more sampling methods in order to determine the consistency of their results among gear types, as well as the optimum combination of gear types. In addition, we directly analyse data that were acquired using multiple gear types to examine the consistency of biodiversity patterns among different gear types. These data represent two regions: 1) Joseph Bonaparte Gulf (JBG) in northern Australia, and 2) Icelandic waters as part of the Benthic Invertebrates of Icelandic Waters (BIOICE) program. For each dataset, we investigate potential patterns of biodiversity (measured by species richness, diversity indices, abundance, and community structure) in relation to environmental variables such as depth, geomorphology, and substrate.

Document type: