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Comparative Study of Three Transect Methods to Assess Coral Cover, Richness and Diversity

N Beenaerts
E V Berghe


Three different transect methods were compared at two different sites in Kenya, on their efficiency to estimate hard coral cover, genus richness and Shannon diversity index. For a modified line transect method (LTM), the line intercept method (LIT) and a linear point intercept (LPI) method the relative efficiency of the three methods was calculated with respect to the tested parameters.
The three methods were examined along identical transect lines (10 m) and a total of 27
transect triplets were recorded in Vipingo and 21 in Mombasa. The correlation coefficients for
all three ecological parameters were calculated for the three possible pairs of methods, and the accumulation curves plotted for each of the parameters using number of transects as the independent variable. Results from the three methods were virtually indistinguishable. When the parameters were plotted using measuring time on the x axis, the curves for the LPI method converged twice as fast as those for LTM, while LIT time was intermediate. It is suggested that the LPI method might be most suitable for assessing coral cover, richness and diversity where time and effort are significant constraints.

Keywords:transect methods, coral cover

West Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science Vol. 4 (1) 2005: pp. 29-38