Marine Biology

, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 453–461 | Cite as

Geostatistical analysis of spatial distribution of Liocarcinus depurator, Macropipus tuberculatus and Polybius henslowii (Crustacea: Brachyura) over the Galician continental shelf (NW Spain)

  • E. González-Gurriarán
  • J. Freire
  • L. Fernández


Geostatistics was used to analyze the spatial structure and distribution of three species of brachyurans, Liocarcinus depurator, Macropipus tuberculatus and Polybius henslowii, from sets of data collected during three survey cruises (1983 and 1984) over the Galician continental shelf. The present study investigates the feasibility of using geostatistics with data collected according to traditional methods and of thereby improving the sampling methodology. In order to investigate the spatial structure of the species studied, experimental variograms were calculated and fitted to a spherical model. The spatial structure model was used to estimate and map abundance and distribution of the populations studied using the so-called “Kriging” technique. Geostatistical analysis enabled the determination of spatial density gradients as well as patch size (14 to 22 km, L. depurator; 10 to 28 km, M. tuberculatus; 7.5 to 28 km, P. henslowii) along the continental shelf. Depth was revealed as a limiting factor, restricting the distribution of L. depurator and M. tuberculatus on a large scale, whereas upwelling processes and nutrient-rich waters from the rías affected the spatial structure on a smaller scale, especially in the case of P. henslowii. A spatial segregation in the distribution of the three species also emerged; this probably arose from differences in physical and biological factors that result in different habitat-exploitation patterns. The study demonstrates the existence of spatial covariance and that the variograms vary as a function of population density and geographical area. This information will be useful in improving the design of future sampling cruises.


Covariance Spatial Structure Kriging Continental Shelf Patch Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. González-Gurriarán
    • 1
  • J. Freire
    • 1
  • L. Fernández
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Bioloxia AnimalUniversidade da CoruñaCoruñaSpain

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