Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Event Name/Location

Proceedings of 10th International Coral Reef Symposium, Okinawa, Japan

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Coral, Patchiness, Spatial Anisotropy, Scale-Invariance, Fractal, IKONOS, ICRS10


In this study, the spatial character of benthic communities is investigated in an Arabian Gulf shallow subtidal carbonate ramp setting, using IKONOS satellite imagery. The patchy distribution of three assemblages of live and dead corals on extensive (but also fragmented) hardground pavements was investigated using a variety of spatial statistics. It was found that the spatial expression of the benthic groups display characteristics that approximate to power-law distributions over several orders of magnitude to an extent that suggests fractal behaviour. Pronounced anisotropy was observed between the spatial patterns in the near-shore and off-shore region which is attributed to different mechanisms of patch formation controlled by the local hydrodynamic regime. The study area is know to be subjected to recurrent and cyclic thermal induced mass mortality events on a decadal time scale, inhibiting reef framework development and likely to be a controlling mechanism in the patchiness of the benthic communities.