Biodiversity (Research Paper Sample)
The goal of the research was to make robust assessments about differences in species diversity between assemblages and the effort used to sample assemblages. Standard ecological survey techniques for sampling invertebrates (Surber samples) and fish (passive trapping) in a local river were employed. The first objective was to compare the number of invertebrate and fish taxa, while the second objective was to assess how estimates of taxonomic richness changes with sampling effort. The task also required creating and interpreting Species-accumulation curves.source..
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RIVER COMMUNITIES: INVERTEBRATE AND FISH RICHNESS
Biodiversity, a short form for biological diversity, is a phrase that describes the diversification of life on earth and the associations between living organisms (Turner, 2018). This comprises variations among species, ecosystems, and individuals. Genetic variation refers to the diversity of genes in a particular species. It allows species to conform to varying environmental conditions and to correspond to natural selection (Verma, 2017). Ecosystem and community variation refers to the diversity of all the inhabitants in an ecosystem. It is often determined through the comparison of various ecosystems to assess the one that has lower or higher levels of diversity. Additionally, Species variation refers to diversity among species. An area with high species variation implies that it is healthier than an area with low species variation.
Biodiversity is an attribute that combines evenness and richness across species. Richness refers to the number of groups of functionally or genetically interconnected individuals (Brown et al., 2016). It simply refers to the total number or count of species in a specific area. Species richness is an important measure of biological diversity and is one of the most assessed metrics among ecologists. Measuring species richness is very crucial since it is a fast way to differentiate between various ecosystems, populations, or different locations of organisms (Gotelli and Colwell, 2011). Additionally, it helps us gain a better understanding of biodiversity in terms of sustaining ecological balance. Many scholars have established that an increase in species richness increases productivity, provides resistance to disturbances, and leads to a stable ecosystem (Gillman et al., 2015).
It is very crucial to account for sampling effort if you want to establish whether one assemblage has more species than the other since greater sampling efforts result in higher species richness (Grey et al, 2018). Additionally, a bad sampling effort can lead to the collection of an insufficient number of species to support the diversity in the river.
Surble samples ecological survey method was used for sampling the invertebrates. A riffle was selected in the river to represent the sampling area. 15 surbers were set with the net held upright to allow water to flow into the net. They were held in place while turning over to remove any organisms that may have clung to them. Other heavier organisms such as snails that were not picked by the current were hand-picked. The nets were then inverted into the sample containers where the organisms were identified and recorded to give the sample. A sample of 39 invertebrate surbers was collected. A passive sampling method was used to sample fish species. 10 fish traps were left in the riffle to catch the fish that came into contact with them. The efficiency of this method was influenced by the probability of fish entering the traps and remaining there until the traps were retrieved. The samples were taken across four sampling days.
The fish species were identified into seven taxonomic levels: Leuciscus cephalus (Chub), Phoxinus phoxinus (Minnow), Barbatula barbatula (Stoneloach), Gasterosteus aculeatus (Stickleback), Perca fluviatilis (Perch), Anguilla Anguilla (Eel), and Gobio gobio (Gudgeon). On the other hand, the invertebrates were classified into 14 taxonomic levels and others were classified into the miscellaneous category. The taxonomic groups included: Asellus sp. (water hoglouse), Gammarus sp. (freshwater shrimp), Simuliidae (blackflies), Plecoptera (stoneflies), Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Zygoptera (damselflies), Anisoptera (dragonflies), Cased Trichoptera (caddisflies), Caseless Trichoptera (caddisflies), Chironomidae (midge larvae), Oligochaetes (worms), Hirudinea (leeches), Gastropods (snails) and Bivalves (mussels).
Figure 1: Fish Species accumulation curve
The total number of different samples of fish traps were 30. The total number of incidences was 55 while the total number of fish species observed for all samples taken was 6. No Eels were observed in the Eels’traps. On average, for one fish trap, we would find 1.83 fish species. We are 95 percent confident that the average number of fish species for one fish trap lies between 1.51 and 2.16. A sample of 30 is a good estimate of the total number of fish species in the river since upon increasing the sample size the number of fish species on average increases slightly. We are 95 percent confident that the average number of fish species lies between 4.61 and 7.39. an estimated sample size of 50 fish traps is likely to give a more accurate estimate of species richness for fish.
Invertebrates Species accumulation curve
Figure 2: Invertebrates Species accumulation curve
The total number of different samples of invertebrates’ surbers was 39. The total number of incidences was 226 while the total number of invertebrates species observed for all samples taken was 14. No Anisoptera (dragonflies) were observed in the dragonflies surbers. On average, for one sample, we would find 5.79 invertebrates species. We are 95 percent confident that the average number of invertebrate species for one surber lies between 5.38 and 6.21. A sample of 39 is a good estimate of the total number of invertebrate species in the river since upon increasing the sample size the number of invertebrate species on average remains constant (14.00). We are 95 percent confident that the average number of invertebrate species lies between 12.74 and 15.26. An estimated sample size of 50 surbers is likely to give a more accurate estimate of species richness for invertebrates.
Species Accumulation curves for fish( Figure 1) and invertebrates (Figure 2) 4.58 and 95 percent confidence intervals of between 3.71 and 5.45 fish species and 12.12 and 95 confidence intervals of 11.34 and 12.90 invertebrates were observed in 10 samples.
The total number of fish species observed across all samples( taken across four sampling days) was 6 and the total number of invertebrate groups was 14. These observed values fall outside the 95 percent confidence intervals of diversity estimates based upon 10 samples.
Based on the above boxplot, the invertebrates are m
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