rugosity index for habitat complexity

Jaap Kaandorp jaapk at
Thu May 28 04:02:55 EDT 1998

Dear Caroly Shumway,

A very suitable method (at least from a theoretical point of view, I do
not know if it is a very practical method in your case) to estimate the 
degree of rugosity of a coral reef might be to measure the degree of space- 
or plane filling of the reef. This can be done by analyzing the fractal 
dimensions of photographs of the reef. The advantage of this method is that
you determine scale invariant properties, which can be directly related to
biological or physical properties of the reef. There is one reference in which 
this method was applied in coral reefs:

Bradbury, R.H. and R.E. Reichelt, Fractal dimension of a coral reef at 
ecological scales, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.10(2):169-172, 1983.

There are many references available in which this method was used to study
the shape of individual organisms or objects from physics:

M. Obert, Microbial growth patterns: fractal and kinetic
characteristics of patterns generated by a computer model to
simulate fungal growth, Fractals 1:354-374, 1993

E. Sander and L.M. Sander and R.M. Ziff, Fractals and fractal correlations
Computers in Physics 8(4):420-425, 1994

J.A. Kaandorp, Analysis and synthesis of radiate accretive growth in
three dimensions, J. Theor. Biol. 175:39-55, 1995

J.A. Kaandorp, C. Lowe, D. Frenkel and P.M.A. Sloot, The effect of nutrient 
diffusion and flow on coral morphology, Phys. Rev. Lett.77(11):2328-2331,

Best regards,

Jaap Kaandorp

Jaap Kaandorp
Parallel Scientific Computing and Simulation Group
Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics & Astronomy
University of Amsterdam
Kruislaan 403
1098 SJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 20 5257539 / +31 20 5257463
email: jaapk at
fax: +31 20 5257490

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