What is a macrophyte patch?:Patch identification in aquatic ecosystems and guidelines for consistent delineation

Schoelynck, Jonas and Creëlle, Stéphan and Buis, Kerst and De Mulder, Tom and Emsens, Willem-Jan and Hein, Thomas and Meire, Dieter and Meire, Patrick and Okruszko, Tomasz and Preiner, Stefan and Roldan Gonzalez, Rebeca and Silinski, Alexandra and Temmerman, Stijn and Troch, Peter and Van Oyen, Tomas and Verschoren, Veerle and Visser, Fleur and Wang, Chen and Wolters, Jan-Willem and Folkard, Andrew (2018) What is a macrophyte patch?:Patch identification in aquatic ecosystems and guidelines for consistent delineation. Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology, 18 (1). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1642-3593

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Patches are of central interest to many areas of environmental science because they provide a lower limit of structural detail in synoptic studies, and an upper limit of contextual structure for point measurement-based studies. Identification and delineation of macrophyte patches however, is often arbitrary and case-specific. In this paper we propose a widely-applicable set of guidelines for delineating a “patch” and “patch matrix” – the latter implying a collection of interacting patches – which could standardise future research. To support this proposal, we examine examples from eco-hydrological studies, focusing on interactions between plants, water flow, sediment, and invertebrates. We discuss three aspects that are key to the delineation of a patch: (1) constitution (variable(s) whose values define the patch), (2) spatial properties (patch boundaries), and (3) distinction (of isolated single patches from multiple separate-but-interacting patches). The discussion of these aspects results in guidelines for identifying and delineating a patch which is applicable to any aquatic habitat, and covers a broad range of disciplines such as plant and animal ecology, biogeochemistry, hydraulics, and sedimentology.

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Journal Article
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Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology, 18, 1, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecohyd.2017.10.005
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24 Nov 2017 13:14
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:16