[Coral-List] Best practice for LIT surveys

Lindsay Sullivan lindssullivan at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Dec 28 16:20:43 EST 2008

Dear Coral-listers,
If anyone has experience of using the line intercept transect (LIT) method to carry out benthic assemblage surveys I wonder if you could help me. 
I have been taught that in high surge conditions the fibreglass tape must be secured to coral colonies to prevent it moving around, wound around massive colonies and through the fingers of branching and digitate colonies for example, however I have concerns that (a) this is damaging to the coral and (b) the survey is no longer random or even haphazard, but that the results are selected by the diver as he carefully tucks the tape around coral. 
Does anyone have similar opinions or experiences of this method and can offer possible solutions? Despite the common usage of LITs for coral reef surveys I have been unable to find detailed instructions of how to ensure the tape remains secured close the substrate and in a straight line, so wonder if perhaps this is an accepted weakness of the method?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Best regards,


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