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A review of the extensive variation in the design of pitfall traps, and a proposal for a standard pitfall trap design for monitoring ground-active arthropod biodiversity

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Abstract

To understand change in global biodiversity patterns requires large-scale, long-term monitoring. The ability to draw meaningful comparison across studies is severely hampered by extensive variation in the design of the sampling equipment and how it is used. Here, we present a meta-analysis and description highlighting this variation in a common, widely used entomological survey technique. We report a decline in the completeness of methodological reporting over a 20-year period, while there has been no clear reduction in the methodological variation between researchers using pitfall traps for arthropod sampling. There is a growing need for improved comparability between studies to facilitate the generation of large-scale, long-term biodiversity datasets. However, our results show that, counterproductive to this goal, over the last 20 years there has little progress in reducing the methodological variation. We propose a standardized pitfall trap design for the study of ground-active arthropods. In addition, we provide a table to promote a more standardized reporting of the key methodological variables. Widespread adoption of more standardized methods and reporting would facilitate more nuanced analysis of biodiversity change.
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3953-3964
Number of pages12
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume6
Issue number12
Early online date12 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016

    Research areas

  • Araneae, Biodiversity sampling, Carabidae, Formicidae, Pitfall trap, Standard design

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