We have tested both the usefulness of high-resolution digital photography for data acquisition and digital image analysis, by non-supervised classification and high pass filter, for recognition and abundance estimation of benthic intertidal organisms. These digital tools were compared with visual scan and photo quadrat conventional methods. The comparison was done using 40 quadrats (10x5 cm) randomly selected along a 5-m transect on the rocky shore of the Pemaquid Point, Maine, USA. ANOVA for repeated measures was used to test differences among methods. Monte Carlo simulation analysis was used to explore differences among methods over a large set of data (n=100, 500, 1000 quadrats). Differences among methods were observed when 40 quadrats were used. Tukey multiple comparison test showed that abundance estimation from visual scan, photo quadrat and digital image analysis by high pass filter do not differ significantly among them but differ from non-supervised classification results. Due to its accurate estimation, high pass filter (Prewitt) method was chosen as the most reliable digital method to estimate species abundance. Monte Carlo simulation of visual scan, photo quadrat and high pass filter results showed significant differences when the number of quadrats was larger. These results showed that the combined use of digital photography and digital image analysis techniques for the acquisition and analysis of recorded data is a powerful method for the study of intertidal benthic organisms. Results produced using these techniques were similar than those produced by conventional methods but were obtained in a much-reduced time.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.