Blunt and Thompson
Preston Montford
Terrestrial invertebrates
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This paper seeks to develop a framework for use in structured sampling of ecologically significant features in studies of terrestrial taxa. It addresses the specific needs of those amateur studies, e.g. of less popular invertebrate groups, in which the number of fieldworkers engaged in data collection may be small, and where typical practice of unstructured sampling leads to biases that compromise data analysis and interpretation. Using the vice-county of Shropshire (vc40) as a worked example, the paper takes baseline data from 1985 that identify ecologically significant features in each hectad, and updates, selects and uses them to calculate a proportional distribution of those features across the 38 hectads most representative of them in Shropshire. Two suites of sites are then suggested to sample those features in the same proportions. A record card is also developed for use in capturing data so as to facilitate effective analysis. The paper identifies and discusses issues to be addressed when applying the framework, and suggests approaches to analysing data gathered from using it. Though the paper is initially motivated by the needs of amateur entomologists in Shropshire, the methodology used in developing the framework is adaptable to other taxa and other geographical regions.