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Mitigating the conflict between pitfall-trap sampling and conservation of terrestrial subterranean communities in caves
Peter Kozel, Tanja Pipan, Nina Šajna, Slavko Polak, Tone Novak, 2017, original scientific article

Abstract: Subterranean habitats are known for their rich endemic fauna and high vulnerability to disturbance. Many methods and techniques are used to sample the biodiversity of terrestrial invertebrate fauna in caves, among which pitfall trapping remains one of the most frequently used and effective ones. However, this method has turned out to be harmful to subterranean communities if applied inappropriately. Traditionally, pitfall traps have been placed in caves solely on the ground. Here we present an optimized technique of pitfall trapping to achieve a balance between sampling completeness and minimal disturbance of the fauna in the cave. Monthly we placed traps for two days in two parallel sets, a ground trap and an upper one−just below the ceiling−along the cave. In the upper set, about 10% additional species were recorded compared to the ground set. Greater species diversity in the cave was the consequence of both the increased sampling effort and the amplified heterogeneity of sampled microhabitats. In caves sampled by traditional pitfall trapping, overlooked species may be a consequence of methodological biases, leading to lower biodiversity estimates. In our research, incidence-based estimations mostly surpassed abundance-based ones and predicted 95% coverage of the species richness within about two years of sampling. The sampling used contributes at the same time to both the more effective and less invasive inventory of the subterranean fauna. Thus, it may serve as an optional sampling to achieve optimal balance between required data for biodiversity and ecological studies, and nature conservation goals.
Keywords: biodiversity estimators, microhabitats, sampling effort, sampling techniques, biological inventories
Published: 30.10.2017; Views: 259; Downloads: 99
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