The sampling problem, with particular reference to marine organisms
This paper is headed "The Sampling Problem. . . " because it deals with the type of phenomena which are observed when we try to estimate the number of organisms in a population or community. Often the pattern in space is so complex that difficulties are met in making such an estimate. The appropriate statistical methods are dealt with in text-books, but the fundamental reasons behind these problems are not so well understood as yet.
A marine ecologist has a more mobile population to deal with than, say, a plant ecologist and perhaps for this reason there has been a tendency to be preoccupied with field technique without many fundamental changes in outlook. However, recent technical advances such as underwater television, the aqualung, and the sonic detector may put the marine biologist in a position to contribute some new ideas of his own to ecology in general.