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Arthropod diversity in a tropical forest.

Science (New York, N.Y.)

Trees, Rain, Herbivory, Biodiversity, classification, anatomy & histology, Arthropods, Animals, Tropical Climate

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      Abstract

      Most eukaryotic organisms are arthropods. Yet, their diversity in rich terrestrial ecosystems is still unknown. Here we produce tangible estimates of the total species richness of arthropods in a tropical rainforest. Using a comprehensive range of structured protocols, we sampled the phylogenetic breadth of arthropod taxa from the soil to the forest canopy in the San Lorenzo forest, Panama. We collected 6144 arthropod species from 0.48 hectare and extrapolated total species richness to larger areas on the basis of competing models. The whole 6000-hectare forest reserve most likely sustains 25,000 arthropod species. Notably, just 1 hectare of rainforest yields >60% of the arthropod biodiversity held in the wider landscape. Models based on plant diversity fitted the accumulated species richness of both herbivore and nonherbivore taxa exceptionally well. This lends credence to global estimates of arthropod biodiversity developed from plant models.

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      Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness

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        Estimating terrestrial biodiversity through extrapolation.

        Both the magnitude and the urgency of the task of assessing global biodiversity require that we make the most of what we know through the use of estimation and extrapolation. Likewise, future biodiversity inventories need to be designed around the use of effective sampling and estimation procedures, especially for 'hyperdiverse' groups of terrestrial organisms, such as arthropods, nematodes, fungi, and microorganisms. The challenge of estimating patterns of species richness from samples can be separated into (i) the problem of estimating local species richness, and (ii) the problem of estimating the distinctness, or complementarity, of species assemblages. These concepts apply on a wide range of spatial, temporal, and functional scales. Local richness can be estimated by extrapolating species accumulation curves, fitting parametric distributions of relative abundance, or using non-parametric techniques based on the distribution of individuals among species or of species among samples. We present several of these methods and examine their effectiveness for an example data set. We present a simple measure of complementarity, with some biogeographic examples, and outline the difficult problem of estimating complementarity from samples. Finally, we discuss the importance of using 'reference' sites (or sub-sites) to assess the true richness and composition of species assemblages, to measure ecologically significant ratios between unrelated taxa, to measure taxon/sub-taxon (hierarchical) ratios, and to 'calibrate' standardized sampling methods. This information can then be applied to the rapid, approximate assessment of species richness and faunal or floral composition at 'comparative' sites.
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          ENERGY, WATER, AND BROAD-SCALE GEOGRAPHIC PATTERNS OF SPECIES RICHNESS

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            23239740
            10.1126/science.1226727

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