|Species-abundance distributions: arbiters or artifacts|
Hartnoll, R.G.; Burrows, M.T.; Ellard, F.M. (1985). Species-abundance distributions: arbiters or artifacts, in: Gibbs, P.E. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 19th European Marine Biology Symposium, Plymouth, Devon, UK, 16-21 September 1984. pp. 381-390
In: Gibbs, P.E. (Ed.) (1985). Proceedings of the 19th European Marine Biology Symposium, Plymouth, Devon, UK, 16-21 September 1984. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-30294-3. 541 pp., more
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VLIZ: Proceedings 
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- Hartnoll, R.G.
- Burrows, M.T.
- Ellard, F.M.
Various unpolluted marine benthic communities display characteristic species-abundance patterns whereby cumulative percentage of species produces a linear plot against geometric abundance class on probability paper: deviation from this has been taken as evidence of pollution. Four substantial benthic samples from the Isle of Man, two from subtidal muddy sand in 60-70 m, and two from intertidal sand, were examined. The subtidal samples displayed a good linear relationship, but the intertidal ones a poorer fit. This is attributed to a combination of simpler environment, increased stress and disturbance, and reduced species number. Thus not all unpolluted benthic communities provide clear linear plots, and only those which do could be suitable for the application of this method of detecting pollution. Consideration is given to the criteria used for discriminating linear and non-linear plots. The subjective fitting of either a single or an inflected line is very arbitrary, and should always be supported by some objective measure.