Ability of spatial indicators to detect geographic changes (shift, shrink and split) across biomass levels and sample sizes

Type Article
Date 2020-08
Language English
Author(s) Rufino MartaORCID1, 3, Bez Nicolas2, Brind'Amour Anik1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER - Centre Atlantique, French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea, Département Ecologie et Modèles pour l'Halieutique (EMH), Rue de l'Ile d'Yeu - BP 21105, 44311 Nantes Cedex 3, France
2 : MARBEC, IRD, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Ifremer, Sète, France
3 : Centro de Ciências do Mar (CCMAR), Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Source Ecological Indicators (1470-160X) (Elsevier BV), 2020-08 , Vol. 115 , P. 106393 (8p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106393
Keyword(s) Spatial metrics, Monitoring, Marine conservation, Fisheries management

Spatial indicators are widely used to monitor species and are essential to management and conservation. In the present study, we tested the ability of 11 spatial indicators to quantify changes in species’ geographic patterns: (1) spatial displacement of a patch of biomass (‘shift’), (2) a spatial decrease in a patch, accompanied either by a loss of biomass (‘shrink0’) or (3) a relocation of the same biomass (‘shrink1’), and (4) splitting of a patch into smaller patches (‘split’). The geographic changes were simulated by manipulating the spatial distributions of the demersal species (observed during bottom trawl surveys). Hence, the spatial distributions of the latter being used as input data on which the manipulations were done. Additionally, other aspects of the indicators affecting the responses to the geographic changes were also tested, (1) homogeneous increase in biomass throughout the patch and (2) different sample sizes.

The center of gravity (defined by latitude and longitude) was the only indicator that accurately detected the ‘shift’ in biomass. The index of aggregation identified a decrease in the area and biomass of the main biomass patch (‘shrink0’), while the Gini index, equality area and spreading area were accurately identified a decrease in the area of the main biomass patch when total biomass did not decreased (‘Shrink1′). Inertia and isotropy responded to all geographic changes, except for those in biomass or distribution area. None of the indicators successfully identified ‘split’ process. Likewise, one of the indicators were sensitive to a homogeneous increase in biomass or the type of spatial distribution. Overall, all indicators behaved similarly well when sample sizes exceeded 40 stations randomly located in the area. The framework developed provides an accessible and simple approach that can be used to evaluate the ability of spatial indicators to identify geographic processes using empirical data and can be extended to other indicators or geographic processes. We discuss perspectives of the development of spatial indicators especially within the application of EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

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