The influence of trap density and sampling duration on the detection of small mammal species richness

Jonathan M. Conard, Jeremy A. Baumgardt, Philip S. Gipson, Donald P. Althoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Assessing species richness of small mammal communities is an important research objective for many live-trapping studies designed to assess or monitor biological diversity. We tested the effectiveness and efficiency of various trap densities for determining estimates and counts of small mammal species richness. Trapping was conducted in grassland habitats in northeastern Kansas during spring and fall of 2002 and 2003. Estimates and counts of species richness were higher at increased trap densities. This effect appeared to be primarily due to the higher number of individuals sampled at higher trap densities. At least 3 nights duration was needed to produce a stable estimate of species richness for the range of trap densities tested (9-144 trap stations/ha). Higher trap densities generally reached stable richness estimates in fewer nights than low density trapping arrangements. Given that counts and estimates of species richness were influenced by trap density and sampling duration, it is critical that these parameters are selected to most effectively meet research objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalActa Theriologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Detection probability
  • Duration
  • Small mammal
  • Species richness
  • Trap density


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