- About ESA
- Join / Renew
- Pay Invoices
- Member Log-In
Simon R. Leather, Ed.
Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK
2005, 303 pp.
Price: $69.95, soft cover, ISBN: 0-632-053887-7
Insect Sampling in Forest Ecosystems is part of the growing collection of books in the practical Methods in Ecology series aimed at addressing research methods and approaches available to ecologists. Like other books in the series, this volume takes a critical look at established methods and introduces the reader to new and innovative techniques.
Ecologists interested in sampling insects within and beneath the forest canopy are faced with a set of unique challenges. This book, edited by Simon Leather and written by authorities in their research specialties, comprehensively addresses many of these difficulties and points out features of sampling that are common to all ecosystems.
The first chapter acquaints the reader with theory underlying insect sampling and practical aspects of designing a sampling program. After a brief historical overview of information collection, the authors discuss methods available for sampling insect populations and factors involved in determining the use of these strategies. Subsequent chapters fall into two broad categories: sampling from a particular stratum of the canopy and sampling specialized groups of insects.
Chapter 2 is concerned with sampling insects from roots. Rhizophagous insects often spend part or all of their life cycle beneath the ground and are concealed within root systems, making them particularly difficult to collect and study. This chapter, however, presents several clever sampling methods for root-feeding insects, including extraction techniques for the field and laboratory. The author also includes a life-history–based schematic diagram for determining the most appropriate sampling method for subterranean insects.
The third chapter provides a comprehensive review of the theoretical basis, design, and implementation of pitfall trapping, and highlights some associated problems and considerations. The subsequent four chapters detail commonly used methods for sampling insects from forest understory vegetation, trees, in flight, and tree canopies, respectively.
The next two chapters deal with sampling insects from water-filled tree holes and from aquatic environments. In the first, the authors consider techniques for estimating abundance and diversity of insects in natural tree holes and also advocate the use of artificial holes as an inexpensive means of increasing sample size and control in experiments. The latter chapter provides a survey of devices for sampling aquatic insects, and details problems associated with measurement error.
The focus of the book then switches to sampling specific insect groups. Chapter 10 presents techniques for sampling termites from various habitats (e.g., mounds, soil, wood, arboreal habitats, and structures), as well as two standardized methods for sampling these insects in tropical forests. This chapter also contains a useful decision tree by which an appropriate method for sampling termites may be chosen. The final chapter deals with sampling parasitoids and predators, with particular attention to entomophagous insect assemblages and estimating their impact on a host population.
This book is a thorough, organized, and well-written reference, and I highly recommend it to advanced students and researchers interested in conducting studies in forest ecosystems. Information is presented in a clear and accessible style, and each chapter includes an extensive list of relevant references. I also found the index of methods and approaches at the end of each chapter potentially useful as practical guides for designing and implementing a sampling program. I believe this book ultimately accomplishes what it set out to do—suggest good methodologies by which entomologists can conduct realistic, manageable, and sound experiments in forest ecosystems.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557
Vol. 52, No.1, Spring 2006