Stuart Halse and Grant Pearson have just published a paper on sampling methods for troglofauna in the Journal of Subterranean Biology [link]. The paper also provides the first overall description of the taxonomic composition of troglofauna communities in WA and gives information on their ranges and depth of occurrence. Three broad conclusions are drawn from this study:
1 The non-karstic vadose zone of the Pilbara is rich in troglofauna. This is likely to be the case in many other parts of the world and more surveys should be conducted to identify the general importance of the non-karstic habitats globally. Holes drilled for geological exploration associated with mine development provide easy access to the deeper vadose zone.
2 Scraping appears to be a useful technique for sampling troglofauna in the vadose zone. Under at least some circumstances, it yields more fauna and provides results faster than trapping because there is no colonisation period required. However, because of the relatively low yields of all sampling methods for troglofauna trialled to date, we suggest scraping and trapping should usually be used in combination to maximise yields.
3 Low yields obtained from troglofauna sampling highlight the importance of identifying, prior to sampling, the proportion of the fauna that needs to be collected to adequately characterise a troglofauna community for the purposes of environmental impact assessment. Analyses should be conducted during assessment to evaluate whether this target has been met.
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