Measuring abundance of invertebrate forage for piping plovers (Charadrius melodus; hereafter plovers), a federally listed species in the USA, is an important component of research and monitoring targeted toward species recovery. Sticky traps are commonly used to passively sample invertebrates, but catch rates may vary diurnally or in response to weather. We examined diurnal variation in catch rates of invertebrates using an experiment on reservoir shoreline and riverine sandbar habitats of the Upper Missouri River in 2006 and 2008. Highest catch rates of large invertebrates (>3 mm) on dry sand habitats occurred during 08:00-11:00 Central Daylight Time (CDT) on the reservoir and 08:00-14:00 CDT on the river. On wet sand habitats, catch rates were lowest during 17:00-20:00 on both the reservoir and the river. Catch rates decreased 24% for every 10 kph increase in wind. Sticky traps deployed continuously for 12 h or more had lower catch rates than four consecutive-composited 3-hour deployments, suggesting that trap effectiveness declined for >3-hour deployments. Thus, if sticky traps are used to index plover forage abundance without controlling for time of day and wind speed, data may be highly variable or estimates could be biased. ?? 2010 Society of Wetland Scientists.
Additional publication details
Diurnal variation in invertebrate catch rates by sticky traps: Potential for biased indices of piping plover forage