Biodiversity, often quantified by species richness, is commonly used to evaluate and monitor the health of ecosystems and as a tool for conservation planning. The use of one or more focal taxa as surrogates or indicators of larger taxonomic diversity can greatly expedite the process of biodiversity measurement. This is especially true when studying diverse and abundant invertebrate fauna. Before indicator taxa are employed, however, research into their suitability as indicators of greater taxonomic diversity in an area is needed. We sampled invertebrate diversity in old fields in southern Michigan using pitfall trapping and morphospecies designations after identification to order or family. Correlation analysis was used to assess species richness relationships between focal arthropod taxa and general invertebrate diversity. Relationships were assessed at two fine spatial scales: within sampling patches, and locally across four sampling patches. Cumulative richness of all assessed taxa increased proportionately with cumulative invertebrate richness as sampling intensity increased within patches. At the among-patch scale, we tentatively identified Hemiptera and Coleoptera as effective indicator taxa of greater invertebrate richness. Although Hymenoptera, Araneae and Diptera exhibited high species richness, their total richness within patches was not associated with overall invertebrate richness among patches. Increased sampling throughout the active season and across a greater number of habitat patches should be conducted before adopting Hemiptera and Coleoptera as definitive indicators of general invertebrate richness in the Great Lakes region. Multiple sampling techniques, in addition to pitfall trapping, should also be added to overcome capture biases associated with each technique.
Morrison, William R. III; Waller, Joseph T.; Brayshaw, Alyssa C.; Hyman, David A.; Johnson, Michael R.; and Fraser, Ann M.
"Evaluating Multiple Arthropod Taxa as Indicators of Invertebrate Diversity in Old Fields,"
The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 45
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol45/iss1/7