Bias of reduced-effort community surveys for adult Odonata of lentic waters

Jason T. Bried, Barbara J. Hager, Pamela D. Hunt, Jennette N. Fox, Heather J. Jensen, Kelly M. Vowels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1.Repeat surveys are needed to capture a representative spectrum of adult odonate richness at a site, but specifics on frequency and duration of surveys and associated inferential biases are poorly understood. 2.Weekly 1h surveys of mature male dragonflies and damselflies were repeated at least 15 times at 19 ponds, lakes and wetlands scattered throughout North America. For each site, we tallied the data remaining when the weekly frequency was reduced to 75% (every 1.5weeks), 50% (biweekly), 33% (triweekly), and 25% (monthly) and the 1h survey to 50, 40, 30, 20 and 10min subsets. 3.Reducing the original effort by half (i.e. to 30min biweekly) retained about 80% of the species on average. The smallest effort (10min monthly) retained about 49% of species. The greatest rate of information loss occurred between 20 and 10min. 4.Across-site analysis found that data subsets correlated to the original data set (r>0.81) despite up to 50% species loss. Strong correlations (r≥0.98) remained with 10-15% species loss. 5.Biweekly surveys lasting 20-40min each may provide a representative and cost-effective sample of adult odonate richness in lentic study sites. Losing a handful of species should not greatly undermine richness and compositional comparisons among sites..

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-222
Number of pages10
JournalInsect Conservation and Diversity
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Dragonflies
  • North America
  • Species richness
  • Survey effort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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