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A multiscale analysis of coral reef topographic complexity using lidar-derived bathymetry

Journal of Coastal Research

By:
and
DOI: 10.2112/SI53-002.1

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Abstract

Coral reefs represent one of the most irregular substrates in the marine environment. This roughness or topographic complexity is an important structural characteristic of reef habitats that affects a number of ecological and environmental attributes, including species diversity and water circulation. Little is known about the range of topographic complexity exhibited within a reef or between different reef systems. The objective of this study was to quantify topographic complexity for a 5-km x 5-km reefscape along the northern Florida Keys reef tract, over spatial scales ranging from meters to hundreds of meters. The underlying dataset was a 1-m spatial resolution, digital elevation model constructed from lidar measurements. Topographic complexity was quantified using a fractal algorithm, which provided a multi-scale characterization of reef roughness. The computed fractal dimensions (D) are a measure of substrate irregularity and are bounded between values of 2 and 3. Spatial patterns in D were positively correlated with known reef zonation in the area. Landward regions of the study site contain relatively smooth (D ??? 2.35) flat-topped patch reefs, which give way to rougher (D ??? 2.5), deep, knoll-shaped patch reefs. The seaward boundary contains a mixture of substrate features, including discontinuous shelf-edge reefs, and exhibits a corresponding range of roughness values (2.28 ??? D ??? 2.61). ?? 2009 Coastal Education and Research Foundation.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
A multiscale analysis of coral reef topographic complexity using lidar-derived bathymetry
Series title:
Journal of Coastal Research
DOI:
10.2112/SI53-002.1
Issue:
SPECIAL ISSUE 53
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Coastal Research
First page:
6
Last page:
15
Number of Pages:
10