All things Meio with a specific focus on Chile

Qualitative sampling of the rocky shore

The rocky intertidal presents a varied an complex environment that supports a considerable diversity of meiofaunal organisms. Nearly every micro-habitat will harbor at least a few species, while some such as mussel beds will host 100s of species. Looking at the photo above of the rocky intertidal at Calfuco (Region de Los Rios) there are number of obvious habitats, such as the various species of algae (the more complex the better), the mussel beds and the polychaete reefs. Qualitative sampling of these micro-habitats is simply achieved by scraping or cutting the micro-habit away and placing it in a ziploc bag or plastic jar. We use metal scrapers (used for removing wall paper or applying polyfiller) from the hardware store. There is no need to collect large samples, a 10×10 cm area of mussel bed will yeild more than sufficient material to keep you occupied for days. If the object of the research is to determine the diversity of species at a given site then, as always with meiofauna, many small samples are better than a few large samples.

Area where a sample of musselbed has been removed with a scraper