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Fractal properties of spatial distribution of intertidal benthic communities
Azovsky, A.I.; Chertoprood, M.V.; Kucheruk, N.V.; Rybnikov, P.V.; Sapozhnikov, F.V. (2000). Fractal properties of spatial distribution of intertidal benthic communities. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 136: 581-590.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Azovsky, A.I.
  • Chertoprood, M.V.
  • Kucheruk, N.V.
  • Rybnikov, P.V.
  • Sapozhnikov, F.V.

    We studied the spatial distribution of intertidal macrozoobenthos, microphytobenthos (diatom algae) and sediments at scales from decimeters to kilometers using an index of spatial homogeneity, D I. Sediments were found to be randomly distributed, making up a mosaic of silty and sandy sites. On the contrary, the estimated spatial variability of macrofauna within all the scales up to 5500?m depended upon neither extent (total area covered) nor grain (finest spatial resolution) but only their ratio. We treat this as evidence of statistical self-similarity (fractal property) of the pattern. For diatoms, spatial heterogeneity of community structure was also self-similar in the range from 0.25 to 75?m (within a single bight). At larger scales, microalgae showed a combination of patchy structure with pronounced gradient along the shoreline from brackish-water to marine flora. Thus, fractal properties of both groups became manifested at scales corresponding to their mean body size. The ranges of fractal patterns were approximately equal to 103–105 if measured in body size units. We suggest that fractal-like spatial structures may be a general feature of communities, and speculate on the nature of such patterns.

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