Spatial autocorrelation in the response of soft-bottom marine benthos to gas extraction activities: The case of amphipods in the Ionian Sea

Dario Fiorentino*, Tancredi Caruso, Antonio Terlizzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The spatial distributions of marine fauna and of pollution are both highly structured, and thus the resulting high levels of autocorrelation may invalidate conclusions based on classical statistical approaches. Here we analyse the close correlation observed between proxies for the disturbance associated with gas extraction activities and amphipod distribution patterns around four hydrocarbon platforms. We quantified the amount of variation independently accounted for by natural environmental variables, proxies for the disturbance caused by platforms, and spatial autocorrelation. This allowed us to demonstrate how each of these three factors significantly affects the community structure of amphipods. Sophisticated statistical techniques are required when taking into account spatial autocorrelation: nevertheless our data demonstrate that this approach not only enables the formulation of robust statistical inferences but also provides a much deeper understanding of the subtle interactions between human disturbance and natural factors affecting the structure of marine invertebrates communities. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalMarine environmental research
Volume79
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Soft-bottom marine benthos
  • Amphipods
  • Statistical modelling
  • IMPACT
  • BIODIVERSITY
  • Off-shore gas platforms
  • SPECIES DISTRIBUTION
  • Community structure
  • SEWAGE POLLUTION
  • Spatial autocorrelation
  • OIL
  • INVERTEBRATES
  • REEF FISH ASSEMBLAGES
  • COMMUNITIES
  • PLATFORMS
  • LANDSCAPE-SCALE

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