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Evaluating spatial autocorrelation and depletion in pitfall-trap studies of environmental gradients


Baker, SC and Barmuta, LA, Evaluating spatial autocorrelation and depletion in pitfall-trap studies of environmental gradients, Journal of Insect Conservation, 10, (3) pp. 269-276. ISSN 1366-638X (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10841-006-0016-8


Studies of environmental gradients like edge effects commonly employ designs where samples are collected at unequal distances within transects. This approach risks confounding species patterns caused by the environmental gradient with patterns resulting from the spatial arrangement of the sampling scheme. Spatial autocorrelation and depletion (reduced catch) have the potential to influence pitfall-trap collections of invertebrates. Readily available control data from a study of edge and riparian effects on forest litter beetles was used to assess autocorrelation and depletion effects. Data from control transects distant from the treatment transects located at habitat edges and streams were screened to determine whether the study design (pitfall traps at varying distances within transects) was imposing patterns on the data attributable to differential autocorrelation or depletion. Autocorrelation in species composition and assemblage structure was not detected within the 99 m transects. The abundance and species richness of beetles were not lower where traps were in closer proximity, indicating that the transect design was not causing measurable depletion or resulting in differential trap catch. These findings indicate that spatial autocorrelation and depletion are unlikely to impair further analyses of edge and riparian effects on litter beetles. © Springer 2006.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Baker, SC (Associate Professor Sue Baker)
UTAS Author:Barmuta, LA (Associate Professor Leon Barmuta)
ID Code:40055
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:41
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2007-04-26

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