Estimating Subterranean Species Richness Using Intensive Sampling and Rarefaction Curves in a High Density Cave Region in West Virginia


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Publication Date

January 2004


Species richness in a group of caves in the 21.25 km2 corner of the USGS 7 1⁄2 minute Williamsburg quad- rangle, West Virginia, was investigated to (1) increase our knowledge of species richness for this area, (2) determine how many caves need to be sampled to achieve an accurate estimate of species richness and (3) estimate how many species are present in this area. Eighteen subterranean invertebrate species were collected from 65 caves within the study area. Seven caves were needed to collect 95% of the species. By sampling only the largest seven caves, 89% of the species were captured. However, the species accumulation curve did not reach an asymptote, and estimations based on species rarity show that half of the species were not collected at all. Therefore, the observed patterns should be interpreted with caution, and more data are needed.


Estimating, Subterranean Species, Using Intensive Sampling, Rarefaction Curves, High Density Cave, West Virginia

Document Type



Journal of Cave and Karst Studies, Vol. 66, no. 2 (2004).