Quantitative assessment of yield, precision, and cost-effectiveness of three wetland invertebrate sampling techniques

Clinton K. Meyer, Scot D. Peterson, Matt R. Whiles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macroinvertebrates are increasingly used as indicators of wetland integrity and productivity. However, accurate interpretation of biological information depends on effective sampling methods, which are also preferably cost-effective. We compared sampling yield, precision, and cost-effectiveness of two traditional wetland sampling methods (dipnet, stove pipe corer) to a dipnet combined with a dropframe in wetlands in the Platte River Valley, USA. The dropframe method was designed to be more quantitative than standard dipnet techniques and to maximize capture of mobile taxa. We compared measures of macroinvertebrate community structure (e.g., abundance, richness, diversity) and function (functional structure, habitat associations), as well as processing time for each sampling technique in vegetated and non-vegetated habitats. Vegetated habitats harbored higher richness, diversity, abundance, and biomass of most invertebrates. The dipnet consistently yielded the lowest values in vegetated and non-vegetated habitats, suggesting that sampling with a dipnet alone can greatly underestimate macroinvertebrate populations and diversity. The corer and the dropframe yielded similar results, but the dropframe produced significantly higher richness values. While the dropframe appeared to be a good choice for sampling in these wetlands, sample processing times for this method were more than two times longer than the other methods. Results provide a basis for informed decisions regarding quantitative sampling of wetland macroinvertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Corer
  • Dipnet
  • Diversity
  • Drop trap
  • Emergent macrophytes
  • Riparian
  • Sampling methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • General Environmental Science


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