Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

p. 325-327

Estimating the relative abundance of small mammals when there is no record of catching effort

Cerqueira, RuiKajin, Maja

Estimates of local population abundances, which require carefully designed sampling procedures, can provide valuable information on population size and density. Even though small mammals are one of the most widely studied vertebrate groups, many surveys have not recorded basic information to estimate local abundances, for instance catching effort. Here we suggest a simple comparative trapping frequency index that can be used as an alternative to the relative abundance index in data sets that only contain the number of species and individuals collected, thus lacking information on sampling effort. To compare trapping frequency and relative abundances we used capture records from more than four years, from seven species of rodents and two marsupial species collected by the Brazilian Plague Service. We calculated the trapping frequency index of each species as the proportion of trapped individuals per total of all individuals caught. We found that this trapping index was significantly correlated with a relative abundance index (number of captured individuals divided by number of trap nights). Our findings suggest that the proposed index may be useful for comparisons in situations where data on catching effort is lacking. The index may also provide a simple, though approximate quantification of relative local abundances, with possible applications in comparative studies (e.g. meta-analysis). We suggest that this index is used in studies that do not focus on obtaining accurate population parameter estimates, but which nonetheless contain data that can still offer a representative measure to compare local population abundances.(AU)

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