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.