Gauging megadiversity with optimized and standardized sampling protocols: A case for tropical forest spiders

Ecology and Evolution
Jagoba Malumbres-OlartePedro Cardoso


Characterizing and monitoring biodiversity and assessing its drivers require accurate and comparable data on species assemblages, which, in turn, should rely on efficient and standardized field collection. Unfortunately, protocols that follow such criteria remain scarce and it is unclear whether they can be applied to megadiverse communities, whose study can be particularly challenging. Here, we develop and evaluate the first optimized and standardized sampling protocol for megadiverse communities, using tropical forest spiders as a model taxon. We designed the protocol COBRA-TF (Conservation Oriented Biodiversity Rapid Assessment for Tropical Forests) using a large dataset of semiquantitative field data from different continents. This protocol combines samples of different collecting methods to obtain as many species as possible with minimum effort (optimized) and widest applicability and comparability (standardized). We ran sampling simulations to assess the efficiency of COBRA-TF (optimized, non-site-specific) and its reliability for estimating taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity, and community structure by comparing it with (1) commonly used expert-based ad hoc protocols (nonoptimized, site-specific) and (2) o...Continue Reading


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