Quantifying habitat structure

surface convolution and living space for species in complex environments

Danielle Warfe, L Barmuta, S Wotherspoon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Habitat complexity is often used to explain the distribution of species in environments, yet the ability to predict outcomes of structural differences between habitats remains elusive. This stems from the difficulty and lack of consistency in measuring and quantifying habitat structure, making comparison between different habitats and systems problematic. For any measure of habitat structure to be useful it needs to be applicable to a range of habitats and have relevance to their associated fauna. We measured three differently-shaped macrophyte analogues with nine indices of habitat structure to determine which would best distinguish between their shape and relate to the abundance and rarefied species richness of their associated macroinvertebrate assemblages. These indices included the physical, whole-plant attributes of surface area (SA) and plant volume (PV), the interstitial space attributes of average space size and frequency (ISI), average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr), and total refuge space (FFV), and the degree of surface convolution at a range of scales (i.e. the fractal dimension at four spatial scales: 7.5� 5� 2.5�and 1�magnification). We found a high degree of inter-correlation between the structural indices such that they could be organised into two suites: one group describing interstitial space and surface convolution at coarse scales, the other describing whole-plant attributes and surface convolution at fine scales. Two of these indices fell into both suites: the average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr) and the fractal dimension at 5�magnification. These two measures were also strongly related to macroinvertebrate abundance and rarefied species richness, which points to their usefulness in quantifying habitat structure and illustrates that habitat structure depends not just on shape, but on the space associated with shape. � 2008 The Authors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1764-1773
    Number of pages10
    JournalOIKOS
    Volume117
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Fingerprint

    habitat structure
    habitats
    refuge
    habitat
    macroinvertebrate
    fractal dimensions
    predation
    species richness
    macroinvertebrates
    living space
    macrophyte
    species diversity
    surface area
    fauna
    biogeography
    index
    stems
    attribute

    Cite this

    Warfe, D., Barmuta, L., & Wotherspoon, S. (2008). Quantifying habitat structure: surface convolution and living space for species in complex environments. OIKOS, 117(12), 1764-1773.
    Warfe, Danielle ; Barmuta, L ; Wotherspoon, S. / Quantifying habitat structure : surface convolution and living space for species in complex environments. In: OIKOS. 2008 ; Vol. 117, No. 12. pp. 1764-1773.
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    Warfe, D, Barmuta, L & Wotherspoon, S 2008, 'Quantifying habitat structure: surface convolution and living space for species in complex environments', OIKOS, vol. 117, no. 12, pp. 1764-1773.

    Quantifying habitat structure : surface convolution and living space for species in complex environments. / Warfe, Danielle; Barmuta, L; Wotherspoon, S.

    In: OIKOS, Vol. 117, No. 12, 2008, p. 1764-1773.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Quantifying habitat structure

    T2 - surface convolution and living space for species in complex environments

    AU - Warfe, Danielle

    AU - Barmuta, L

    AU - Wotherspoon, S

    PY - 2008

    Y1 - 2008

    N2 - Habitat complexity is often used to explain the distribution of species in environments, yet the ability to predict outcomes of structural differences between habitats remains elusive. This stems from the difficulty and lack of consistency in measuring and quantifying habitat structure, making comparison between different habitats and systems problematic. For any measure of habitat structure to be useful it needs to be applicable to a range of habitats and have relevance to their associated fauna. We measured three differently-shaped macrophyte analogues with nine indices of habitat structure to determine which would best distinguish between their shape and relate to the abundance and rarefied species richness of their associated macroinvertebrate assemblages. These indices included the physical, whole-plant attributes of surface area (SA) and plant volume (PV), the interstitial space attributes of average space size and frequency (ISI), average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr), and total refuge space (FFV), and the degree of surface convolution at a range of scales (i.e. the fractal dimension at four spatial scales: 7.5� 5� 2.5�and 1�magnification). We found a high degree of inter-correlation between the structural indices such that they could be organised into two suites: one group describing interstitial space and surface convolution at coarse scales, the other describing whole-plant attributes and surface convolution at fine scales. Two of these indices fell into both suites: the average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr) and the fractal dimension at 5�magnification. These two measures were also strongly related to macroinvertebrate abundance and rarefied species richness, which points to their usefulness in quantifying habitat structure and illustrates that habitat structure depends not just on shape, but on the space associated with shape. � 2008 The Authors.

    AB - Habitat complexity is often used to explain the distribution of species in environments, yet the ability to predict outcomes of structural differences between habitats remains elusive. This stems from the difficulty and lack of consistency in measuring and quantifying habitat structure, making comparison between different habitats and systems problematic. For any measure of habitat structure to be useful it needs to be applicable to a range of habitats and have relevance to their associated fauna. We measured three differently-shaped macrophyte analogues with nine indices of habitat structure to determine which would best distinguish between their shape and relate to the abundance and rarefied species richness of their associated macroinvertebrate assemblages. These indices included the physical, whole-plant attributes of surface area (SA) and plant volume (PV), the interstitial space attributes of average space size and frequency (ISI), average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr), and total refuge space (FFV), and the degree of surface convolution at a range of scales (i.e. the fractal dimension at four spatial scales: 7.5� 5� 2.5�and 1�magnification). We found a high degree of inter-correlation between the structural indices such that they could be organised into two suites: one group describing interstitial space and surface convolution at coarse scales, the other describing whole-plant attributes and surface convolution at fine scales. Two of these indices fell into both suites: the average refuge space from predation (Sp/Pr) and the fractal dimension at 5�magnification. These two measures were also strongly related to macroinvertebrate abundance and rarefied species richness, which points to their usefulness in quantifying habitat structure and illustrates that habitat structure depends not just on shape, but on the space associated with shape. � 2008 The Authors.

    KW - abundance

    KW - complexity

    KW - habitat structure

    KW - macroinvertebrate

    KW - macrophyte

    KW - refuge

    KW - species richness

    KW - stem

    M3 - Article

    VL - 117

    SP - 1764

    EP - 1773

    JO - OIKOS

    JF - OIKOS

    SN - 0030-1299

    IS - 12

    ER -