Journal of Negative Results, Vol 11, No 1 (2016)

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Assemblage, size and abundance bias in a novel sandy shore macro-infaunal sampling technique

Natalie Sheppard, Michael A. Weston, Sarah Butler, Bob Baird, Peter Dann


Sampling sandy shore macro-invertebrate fauna is critical in enhancing our understanding of beach ecology and conservation, and is a common monitoring approach. The traditional, and almost universal, method of sampling involves sieving sand to locate infauna, but here we describe a novel Hydraulic Sampling Device (HSD), a candidate method for future macro-invertebrate sampling, which has the potential to be faster and more effective at sampling invertebrates. We compared the results obtained by these two methods. Macro-invertebrate fauna of six beaches on Phillip Island, southern Victoria, Australia were sampled in the upper and lower beach. On average, the HSD sampled a smaller size range of fauna than the sieving method, perhaps because of longer handling times and escape of larger individuals. The sieving method found more individuals and a higher species richness. The methods we describe do not produce directly comparable results. On balance, the sieving method is simpler, apparently not as prone to ‘escape bias’, and reports higher abundances and richness of beach infauna.

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Journal of Negative Results. ISSN: 1459-4625