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The price of patchiness
de Wolf, P. (1989). The price of patchiness. Helgol. Meeresunters. 43(3-4): 263-273.
In: Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen. Biologische Anstalt Helgoland: Hamburg. ISSN 0174-3597, more
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  • de Wolf, P.

    Patchy distribution of animals, on a large or small scale, is a common phenomenon. Various explanations have been given for this spatial and temporal heterogeneity, but in many cases the causes are obscure. Patchy distribution of zooplankton is not understood and was not even expected in the fast turbulent currents of the well mixed tidal channels of the Wadden Sea. This patchiness is shown here for a number of plankton species. Methods commonly used for monitoring plankton usually neglect the fact of patchy distribution, and thus results suffer. Interpretation of such data can be highly misleading, particularly when used to assess the environmental status of an area: an overestimate or underestimate of population density may be the result. Sound quantitative data can only be obtained by making great efforts in terms of work and money. The costs entailed by such studies must be valued accordingly.

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