The report below was written by Jan Reid based on our notes of the discussions we held at the December 1998 Discover Life in America meeting in Gatlinburg. ====================================================================== Great Smoky Mountains National Park All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory Second Annual Meeting, 15-17 December 1998 Collecting Team Report Team members, institutions, and area of expertise: Co-Coordinators: Chuck Parker (USGS/Biological Resources Division, GRSM; aquatic insects) Jan Reid (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian, DC; aquatic meiofauna, copepods) Members attending December Meeting: Richard Hanlin (University of Georgia-Athens; microfungi) Robert Keller (Davidson College, North Carolina; mammals) Anthony Khiel (USDA/Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tennessee; soils) Don Linzey (Wytheville Community College, Virginia; mammals) Ed Pivorum (Clemson University, South Carolina; mammals, amphibians & reptiles) Will Reeves (Clemson University, South Carolina; cave fauna) Marilyn Roossinck (S.R. Noble Foundation, Oklahoma; plant viruses) John Smith (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee; ecology of aquatic invertebrates) David L. Wagner (University of Connecticut-Storrs; Lepidoptera) We sincerely thank Meryl Rose, who served as secretary. Charge: The Collecting Team is charged with organizing and implementing the collecting effort associated primarily with the "structured" component of the ATBI. The structured component involves the use of a subset of collecting techniques in plots ("Biodiversity Reference Points") distributed around the Park in Landscape Reference Areas (LRAs). These will be placed according to a stratified scheme designed to best represent the diversity of ecosystems, vegetation, topography, and other characteristics of the landscape. (The location of the LRAs and the design of the plots are responsibilities of the Design Team.) The collecting methods used in the structured component will primarily be those involving the use of traps, such as Malaise and Pitfall Traps, that can be left on site for extended periods of time, and also "bulk" collecting of soil and litter samples, etc., which will generate preserved samples that can be sorted by technicians. Note: The data from the LRAs will supplement, not replace, the data collected through traditional means. The CT is also charged with developing a schedule for accomplishing tasks and plans, assuming a 1 March start date for fieldwork. Procedure: The CT developed a Mission Statement and extensively discussed collecting methods, protocols, and related subjects. The CT also received input on Tuesday afternoon from members of the Inventory and Design Team (Richard Brown, Michael Schwartz), Taxonomy (Oliver Flint, Janet Rock, David K. Smith), Sorting (Ernest Barnard), Education (Stan Guffey, Dan Perlmutter), and Development (Frank Harris). The Collecting and Sorting Teams had a further meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Most discussion centered around the amount and scope of collecting that could be accomplished during the 1999 field season, based on alternative funding levels of 0 and $1-3,000. It was the consensus of the CT that if funding above these levels becomes available, collecting efforts can be easily expanded. It was the further consensus that any bottlenecks are likely to develop in the sorting and/or taxonomy phases, not the collecting phase. Therefore, it is unwise to collect from more than 5 to 9 plots, or fewer, in 1999 and possibly 2000, unless one or more Sorting Centers are in full operation. The following 4 sections present the Mission Statement; a summary of the tentative plot protocols; the schedule; and a summary of related points discussed. (Much discussion involved areas under the responsibility of other teams, and is not included here.) 1. Mission Statement In regard to the structured collection effort, our purpose is to develop guidelines and protocols for a streamlined, non-biased, low-impact, and comprehensive inventory of the taxonomic groups associated with selected landscape reference areas, following professional and ethical standards. Our purpose is also to facilitate and coordinate the taxon-focused sampling efforts for each of the TWIGs. 2. Collecting Protocol for Individual Plots * Zero funding level: Robert Keller can make biweekly samples on 5 plots, if they are located in the west end of the park and accessible from Cades Cove. Some existing equipment can be used if necessary. This would permit, on each plot: - 1 Malaise Trap - 1 or more Pitfall Traps, different sizes and types - Small mammals (by Keller) - Mammal ectoparasites (by Keller) - Soil samples - Leaf litter samples - Aquatic soil and/or streambed sample, if present * $1-3,000 level: Malaise traps cost about $150 each. Electric fences (bear-proofing traps) cost $100 each. * For each plot the collecting schedule is as follows, 1 March - 31 October: Set out traps on or about 1 March. Continuous samples: Malaise trap, emptied biweekly beginning 15 March for a total of 16 samples. Pitfall traps, emptied on same schedule, total 16 samples/trap. Small mammals/ectoparasites, biweekly over a 3-day period, total 16 samples. Seasonal samples: Soil samples, ca. 5, spring (15 April), summer (15 July), fall (15 October), total 15 samples. Litter sample, 1-m2, total 3 samples. Moist to saturated soil (if present), total 5 samples. Streambed sediment (if present), total 5 samples. * Preservation techniques (need input from TWIGs): Malaise traps - 70% ethanol Pitfall traps - rock salt? Proplyene glycol? Leaf litter - transported live to lab, for placing in Tullgren funnels. Soil samples - transported live to lab Moist to saturated soil - transported live to lab * Barcodes will be assigned at time of collection. How to do? 1 code per plot? per individual bulk sample? * Sorting Protocols: This is the responsibility of the Sorting Team. Sorting resources are expected to be limited in 1999. If necessary, only selected taxa may be targeted for sorting. The residue of preserved bulk samples will, however, be stored for later completion of sorting. * Habitat data: Note: The Database Team needs to know the fields to set up for environmental data. - date, including time of day - duration of collection (for onsite traps, light traps, etc.) - location plot number subplot geographical coordinates altitude general habitat type drainage basin slope, if any, facing which direction special fields for micro-sites, examples: height on tree depth in water substrate (bark, moss, rock etc.) - weather air temperature onsite relative humidity wind velocity - method/gear - collector(s) - soil parameters: temperature pH soil type - granulometry chemistry depth to bedrock organic matter content - hydromorphic soils and/or streambed sediments (if present): temperature pH dissolved oxygen content granulometry organic matter content - water parameters (if surface water is present): temperature pH electrical conductivity dissolved oxygen content - leaf litter parameters: temperature in litter? * Additional options requiring significant additional funding: - Continuous data monitoring. How to enter in data processing? - Light traps, which are high-maintenance. 3. Schedule * Mark and/or monument up to 9 (probably 5) plots, by 1 March, i.e. any time after 1999 plots are selected and designed. (NPS) * Map soils on each selected plot to family level, by 1 March. (Khiel) * Develop a list of current collecting permits and research projects in the Park, by 1 March. (Langdon) * Develop an equipment list and budget, according to funding levels of $0 or $1-3,000, by mid-February?. (Parker) * Develop written sampling protocols, involving: a. A brochure on 1-day ("blitz") sampling protocols. b. Contact TWIGS for input on taxa can usefully be collected in bulk, and to approve draft sampling protocols (Sharkey, Parker, Reid) * Liaise with Park administration and DLIA to arrange a residential facility (trailer) in Cades Cove, by 1 February. (Langdon, Parker) * Liaise with Design, Sorting, and Database/Information System Teams regarding selection of Landscape Reference Areas and plots, capacity of sorters, and necessary data fields, by mid-February. (Parker) * Assist in coordinating taxon-focused, short-term events, as they are scheduled, throughout the year. (Langdon, Parker) 4. Summary of Main Discussion Points * Collectors will need one person physically located at the Park, to coordinate collecting activities. This duty devolves naturally on Keith Langdon? * The CT will have input into developing a guidebook to the park, including collecting protocols. * Collecting will be kept to the minimum necessary to fulfill the goals of the ATBI. The Park will request a synoptic collection of the taxa and their significant variations within Park boundaries. Taxonomists may retain specimen series as they are collected, for eventual deposit in a recognized public institution, in the USA or abroad, in accordance with NPS guidelines now being developed. The CT and individual collectors will remain alert to the potential for depleting populations of certain species. * Collectors will be alerted to the presence of any threatened or endangered species on and near each plot. The Park will provide input in the design and placement of plots so as to minimize or eliminate disturbance to sensitive species. Access to certain plots may be limited. * Collecting activities will be conducted so as to minimize human impact on the plots. Efforts will be made to avoid making trails, damaging vegetation and other natural features, or compacting soils. The impact of collecting will be monitored on a subset of the Biodiversity Reference Points. * Animal welfare will be considered in all collecting. It is not envisioned that live animals or plants will be kept for any length of time, therefore it is unnecessary to develop guidelines for maintaining live vertebrates. What rules apply to NPS lands? (Linzey will provide a set of the Mammal Association handling rules.) * Health issues involve the possibility of communicable diseases, especially from small mammals and their parasites. Gloves and other protective devices will be used as appropriate. Non-professionals, especially elementary and high school students, will be closely supervised to ensure their safety, and may be prohibited from certain activities. * Stopping rules are necessary, to prevent excessive collecting. Guidelines are statistical in nature and vary by major taxon, and therefore need to be worked out with the TWIGs. The Collecting and Taxonomy Teams will monitor species accumulation curves (new taxa added vs. collecting effort). * The types of taxon-focused, short-term events that the CT might be able to assist with include: - caterpillar collecting by beating sheets, and rearing, as by school groups. - aquatic invertebrates (stream surveys) - stream insects (by the Institute at Tremont) - fly fishing groups - Twentyfour hour taxa fests targeting specific groups, such as Diptera or Lepidoptera * At least 2 demonstration plots open to the general public, possibly 1 near Sugarlands and 1 near Oconaluftee, are envisioned. These will feature student interpreters under the guidance of a Park Service professional, and possibly a computer station where the progress of the survey can be tracked. * Involvement of school groups in collecting from most plots is expected to be limited, until equipment and protocols have been tested by professionals. In any event, most plots are expected to be sampled mainly by professionals. * Collectors will need housing in and around the park.
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