|Self-organized criticality in intertidal microphytobenthos patch patterns|
Seuront, L.; Spilmont, N. (2002). Self-organized criticality in intertidal microphytobenthos patch patterns, in: Dauvin, J.-C. (2003). Revue des Travaux de la Station Marine de Wimereux. : pp. 513-539
In: Dauvin, J.-C. (2003). Revue des Travaux de la Station Marine de Wimereux. Station Marine de Wimereux: Wimereux, more
Biomass; Ecology; Intertidal environment; Patchiness; Phytobenthos; Scaling; Marine
Intertidal ecology; Phytobenthos; Biomass; Patchiness; Scaling; Fractals; Self-organized criticality
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A 2D distribution of microphytobenthic biomass is determined from a superficial sediment sampling on an exposed sandy shore. The distribution undergoes a very structured pattern, displaying a few dense patches over a wide range of low density patches. We perform a statistical analysis of this 2D patterns using statistical tools developed in the field of fractal theory. It is shown that the patch pattern belongs to fractal and multifractal structures, and exhibits specific power-law in the probability space, involving the appearance of a self-organized critical state. To our knowledge, this is the first experimental study of self-organized criticality in benthic ecology. Some theoretical consequences are outlined, and their practical applications to improve our understanding of intertidal ecosystems structures and functions are discussed.