Methods for Study of Marine Benthos

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: eBook
  • Copyright: 2013-03-25
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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The continuing global decline of the health of the sea, and the increasing depletion of marine resources and biodiversity, caused by human activity and climate change, have led to ever-increasing international concern. These changes in the marine environment highlight the importance of effective monitoring of the ecology of the benthos which has been shown to be a sensitive index of such alterations.

Completely revised and updated to include many new methods and technologies, this Fourth Edition of Methods for the Study of Marine Benthos provides comprehensive coverage on the tools and techniques available to those working in the area. Commencing with an overview of the design and analysis of benthic surveys, the book continues with chapters covering the sedimentary environment, imaging and diving techniques, macro- and meiofauna techniques, deep sea sampling, energy flow and production. An additional new chapter provided in this edition covers phytobenthos techniques.

Written by many of the world’s leading authorities in marine sampling techniques and use, and edited by Professor Anastasios Eleftheriou, this comprehensive Fourth Edition is an essential tool for all marine and environmental scientists, ecologists, fisheries workers and oceanographers. Libraries in all research establishments and universities where these subjects are studied and taught will find this book to be a hugely valuable addition to their collections.

Author Biography

Professor Anastasios Eleftheriou is based at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Heraklion, Crete, Greece, and at the Department of Biology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece.

Table of Contents



Preface to the Fourth Edition


Chapter 1 Design and Analysis in Benthic Surveys in Environmental Sampling

Anthony J. Underwood and Maura G. Chapman

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Variability in benthic populations

1.3 Appropriate replication

Appropriate spatial replication

Appropriate temporal replication

1.4 Size of sampling unit

1.5 Independence in sampling

1.6 Multivariate measures of assemblages

1.7 Transformations and scales of measurement

1.8 Data-checking and quality control

1.9 Detecting environmental impacts as statistical interactions

1.10 Precautionary principles and errors in interpretations

1.11 Precision and the size of samples

1.12 Gradients and hierarchies in sampling

1.13 Combining results from different places or times

1.14 Conclusions



Chapter 2 Characterising the Physical Properties of Seabed Habitats

Andrew J. Kenny and Ian Sotheran

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Remote acoustic methods for surveying the seabed


Echo-sounders (single beam systems)

Acoustic ground discrimination systems based on single beam echo-sounder

Swathe bathymetry

2.3 Particle (grain) size analysis

Sample collection and storage

Sediment grade scales

Analytical techniques

Presentation and analysis of grain size data

2.4 Other important sediment properties

Bulk and dry density, water content and porosity

Organic matter content


EPS carbohydrate


Eh and pH

In Situ Sediment Characterisation Methods



Chapter 3 Imaging Techniques

Chris J. Smith and Heye Rumohr

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Acoustic imaging

Acoustic ground discriminating systems

Sidescan sonar

Swathe bathymetry

3.3 Video

Underwater video camera systems



Data transmission


Storage media

Power supply

Video monitors


Calibration and measurement

3.4 Photography

3.5 Carrier platforms


Drop frames

Specialised towed platforms

Remotely operated vehicles

Autonomous underwater vehicles

Manned submersibles

Navigation and positioning of the carrier platform

Data acquisition and processing

3.6 Special applications

Sediment profile imagery

Laser technologies

Application of medical technologies

3.7 Laboratory imaging

3.8 Image analysis

3.9 Afternote


Chapter 4 Diving

Colin Munro

4.1 Diving systems


Remotely supplied systems

Breathing gas and supply systems

4.2 Saturation diving and underwater habitats

4.3 Data collection and recording

Slate or notepad and pencil

Voice recording

Image recording

Video systems

4.4 Underwater site marking and relocation

General considerations

Air drills and underwater fasteners

Acoustic pingers and receivers

4.5 Sampling methods


Suction samplers

Yabby pumps and slurp guns


4.6 Other study techniques

Resin casting

4.7 Survey methods

Manta tows

Transect and quadrat surveys

Plotless and rapid survey techniques

Fish survey techniques


Chapter 5 Macrofauna Techniques

Anastasios Eleftheriou and Derek C. Moore

5.1 Littoral observation and collection

Position fixing and levelling on the shore

5.2 Remote collection


Bottom sledges


Semi-quantitative estimates with trawl and dredge

Anchor dredges


Box samplers and corers

Suction samplers

Other methods of sampling

5.3 Working sampling gear at sea

Continental shelf

Recovery of lost gear

5.4 Efficiency of benthos sampling gear

Dredges and trawls



Comparative efficiency

5.5 Choice of a sampler

5.6 Treatment and sorting of samples

Initial treatment


Subsequent sorting

5.7 Data recording



Chapter 6 Meiofauna Techniques

Paul J. Somerfield and Richard M. Warwick

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Sample collection

Intertidal sediments

Subtidal sediments

Secondary substrata

6.3 Fixation and preservation

6.4 Sample processing



Secondary substrata

6.5 Storage and preservation

6.6 Sample splitting

6.7 Examination and counting


Preparation for microscopy



6.8 Biomass determination

6.9 Cultivation of marine and brackish-water meiobenthos

6.10 Experimental techniques


Chapter 7 Deep-Sea Benthic Sampling

Alan J. Jamieson, Ben Boorman and Daniel O.B. Jones

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Sampling from research vessels

Deployment methods

Tracking, monitoring and positioning

7.3 Collecting animals from the deep-sea floor


Epibenthic sleds


Suction samplers

7.4 Collecting sediment from the deep-sea floor


Box corers

Tube corers

ROV corers

7.5 Imaging the deep-sea floor

Imaging survey design

Photographic transects

ROV imaging

AUV imaging

Time-lapse imaging

Interpretation of images

7.6 Biogeochemistry of the deep-sea floor

Benthic incubation chambers

Sediment profiling systems

7.7 In situ manipulative experiments

7.8 Future developments




Chapter 8 Measuring the Flow of Energy and Matter in Marine Benthic

Animal Populations

Jan van der Meer, Thomas Brey, Carlo Heip, Peter M.J.

Herman, Tom Moens and Dick van Oevelen

8.1 Introduction

State variables and units of measurement

8.2 Energy and mass budgets of individual organisms

Ratios or ‘efficiencies’

Energy flux modelling

8.3 Methods for estimating the energy budget of an individual organism

Mass, size, chemical composition and energy content

Ingestion, absorption and defaecation




Reproductive output


Product formation

8.4 From the individual to the population

Secondary production

8.5 Community-level measurements and modelling

Community-level activity

Community-level mass transfer

Community-level modelling


Chapter 9 Phytobenthos Techniques

Hans Kautsky

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Phytobenthic communities

Guidelines for the study of phytobenthic communities

Data collection

9.3 Overview of methods for sampling phytobenthos

9.4 Transect line techniques

Overview of transect techniques

Recommended ICES method

SCUBA transect estimates (ICES method)

Video transect method

Continuous observation methods

Photo frames

9.5 Other underwater surveying methods

The manta tow technique

Diver-propulsion vehicle technique

Other underwater video techniques

Remotely operated vehicles (see Chapter )

Echo-sounding, sidescan sonar (see Chapter )

9.6 Other surveying techniques

Satellite imagery

Aerial photography

Laser scanning techniques

9.7 Conclusion


Short review of methods used for monitoring in

Europe and overseas



Colour plate section

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