Chapter

Biological Units

Steven N. Murray, Richard F. Ambrose and Megan N. Dethier

in Monitoring Rocky Shores

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780520247284
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932715 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247284.003.0003
Biological Units

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The biological units targeted by a sampling program can vary from individual-based parameters such as the size of a particular limpet species' gonads, to population-level parameters such as counts of all macroscopic organisms, to higher taxonomic units such as the numbers of phyla. The biological units to be selected will vary (as always) with the goals of the sampling program and with available knowledge about the ecology of the populations and communities being studied. The investigator will want to choose the most informative biological units—that is, those that best address the goals of the study and that have the potential to provide statistically powerful answers to the specific research questions. Ideally, the chosen biological units also will have known causal links with any stressors being studied. Unfortunately, clear causal relationships between stressors and responses of organisms in rocky shores are rarely known, even when only a single identifiable stressor is under consideration. Of the biological units targeted in intertidal zone monitoring, impact detection, and other research programs, the species-level population is the most commonly sampled unit.

Keywords: biological units; sampling; ecology; stressors; rocky shores; intertidal zone; monitoring; species-level population; organisms

Chapter.  9610 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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