Large forest complexes with few human inhabitants provide a valuable resource for understanding natural processes in an environment not directly impacted by humans. However, studies of such systems are difficult to conduct due to the frequent need for collected samples to be subjected to lengthy laboratory processing protocols that require them to be transported to often distant laboratories. The objective of this study was to devise an easy-to-transport field device for sampling soil invertebrates with a simple single-day protocol of extraction. Studies were conducted in order to compare the quantitative and qualitative extraction efficiency of soil invertebrates using this new method (8 h for extraction) and a well-established one, using the Tullgren funnel (168 h for extraction). We also tested the influence of cooling collected microarthropod samples for 7 days on extraction efficiency. Data indicated that the field extraction device was comparable in efficiency to the standard Tullgren extraction funnels and did not affect the results obtained on abundance, species richness and diversity. In addition, the methods did not differ in reference to unique species and the proportional abundance of extracted developmental stages. Results suggest that the field extraction device is time-efficient compared to currently used extraction protocols. Most importantly, the new device allows researchers to study and analyze soil mesofauna directly in the field without needing to transport samples back to the laboratory, thus decreasing the risk of losing sample integrity and spreading soil pathogens. We suggest it will be useful as a complement to other older techniques in the future.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by National Science Centre, Poland with grant number: 2011/02/A/NZ9/00108 .
© Elsevier Masson SAS
- Extraction methods
- Mite community
- Soil fauna