Authors: Lidia González Goñi, Ángel Borja, María C. Uyarra.
Content: There is a need for effective monitoring of the marine environment, optimizing the tools used to obtain ecosystems information in a systematic and repeatable way. Image analysis techniques represent a breakthrough in addressing ecological studies, as they allow
non-destructive sampling while providing reliable data. From the wide variety of software available for image analysis, three have been selected and used: Image J, Coral Point Count (CPCe) and Photoquad. A comparison of their effectiveness has been made, by analyzing coverage, richness and diversity of benthic communities that colonised ARMS (Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures) installed in three locations on the Basque coast. The results show that all of them provide the same outcomes after analysis, with differences among study sites but not among softwares. There are, however, significant differences in the time required to perform the analysis with the three softwares, being CPCe the fastest. Therefore it can be conclude that it is the most effective.
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