Discriminatory power of different arthropod data sets for the biological monitoring of anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests
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- Basset, Y., Mavoungou, J.F., Mikissa, J.B. et al. Biodiversity and Conservation (2004) 13: 709. doi:10.1023/B:BIOC.0000011722.44714.a4
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Arthropods were monitored by local parataxonomists at 12 sites of increasing anthropogenic disturbance (old and young secondary forests, savanna and cultivated gardens) at Gamba, Gabon. We report on the discriminatory power of different data sets with regard to the classification of sites along the disturbance gradient, using preliminary data accounting for 13 surveys and 142425 arthropods collected by Malaise, pitfall and yellow-pan traps. We compared the performance of different data sets. These were based upon ordinal, familial and guild composition, or upon 22 target taxa sorted to morphospecies and either considered in toto or grouped within different functional guilds. Finally we evaluated ‘predictor sets’ made up of a few families or other target taxa, selected on the basis of their indicator value index. Although the discriminatory power of data sets based on ordinal categories and guilds was low, that of target taxa belonging to chewers, parasitoids and predators was much higher. The data sets that best discriminated among sites of differing degrees of disturbance were the restricted sets of indicator families and target taxa. This validates the concept of predictor sets for species-rich tropical systems. Including or excluding rare taxa in the analyses did not alter these conclusions. We conclude that calibration studies similar to ours are needed elsewhere in the tropics and that this strategy will allow to devise a representative and efficient biotic index for the biological monitoring of terrestrial arthropod assemblages in the tropics.