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Development and field-testing of base-line inventory and monitoring protocols for cave biota at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Ft. Leonard Wood (Pulaski County, Missouri) contains more than 60 caves and other karst features (sinkholes, springs, etc.). Yet, little research has been done on cave fauna of Ft. Leonard Wood, and reports documenting the occurrence of invertebrates are especially uncommon. The objective of this study was to develop and field-test a protocol for base line inventorying and subsequent periodic monitoring of the nature and condition of natural resources located in caves on the military base. Seventeen sites were sampled in 2003 (March-June) using a variety of sampling techniques to characterize biota. Environmental parameters such as light, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and relative humidity were measured when appropriate. Eighty animal taxa (3,923 individuals) were documented. Comparison of sampling methods identified three techniques that recovered the largest proportion of individuals and taxa. Baited pitfall trapping accounted for 60% of recorded individuals, while visual observation and hand collection accounted for 33%. However, percent of total taxa captured by each sampling technique revealed a different pattern. Hand collecting captured 55% of total taxa observed. Visual observation could account for 35% of total taxa, while baited pitfall trapping identified only 25%. It was recommended that a combination of sampling methods be used to reduce bias associated with individual techniques and reduce potential for over collection of rare species. Supported by Fort Leonard Wood, The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Natural History Survey, and Illinois State Museum Society.

* Slay, M.E., S.J. Taylor, and S.R. Ahler. Ozark Highlands Office, The Nature Conservancy. Center for Biodiversity, Illinois Natural History Survey. Illinois State Museum Society.
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Title Annotation:Speleology, Senior Division
Author:Ashley, David
Publication:Transactions of the Missouri Academy of Science
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:1U4MO
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:259
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