Data_Sheet_1_Portraying Gradients of Structural Complexity in Coral Reefs Using Fine-Scale Depth Profiles.ZIP (3.25 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Portraying Gradients of Structural Complexity in Coral Reefs Using Fine-Scale Depth Profiles.ZIP

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posted on 13.08.2021, 04:09 authored by Lauriane Ribas-Deulofeu, Pierre-Alexandre Château, Vianney Denis, Chaolun Allen Chen

Structural complexity is an important feature to understand reef resilience abilities, through its role in mediating predator-prey interactions, regulating competition, and promoting recruitment. Most of the current methods used to measure reef structural complexity fail to quantify the contributions of fine and coarse scales of rugosity simultaneously, while other methods require heavy data computation. In this study, we propose estimating reef structural complexity based on high-resolution depth profiles to quantify the contributions of both fine and coarse rugosities. We adapted the root mean square of the deviation from the assessed surface profile (Rq) with polynomials. The efficiency of the proposed method was tested on nine theoretical cases and 50 in situ transects from South Taiwan, and compared to both the chain method and the visual rugosity index commonly employed to characterize reef structural complexity. The Rq indices proposed as rugosity estimators in this study consider multiple levels of reef rugosity, which the chain method and the visual rugosity index fail to apprehend. Furthermore, relationships were found between Rq scores and specific functional groups in the benthic community. Indeed, the fine scale rugosity of the South Taiwan reefs mainly comes from biotic components such as hard corals, while their coarse scale rugosity is essentially provided by the topographic variations that reflect the geological context of the reefs. This approach allows identifying the component of the rugosity that could be managed and which could, ultimately, improve strategies designed for conservation.

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