Comparative Analysis of Insect Diversity in Costa Rican Forests by Ground Sampling

This topic submitted by Paul Levy ( at 2:07 PM on 7/7/03.

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Comparative Analysis of Insect Diversity in Costa Rican Forests by Ground Sampling and Qualitative Observation


Important information about the health of an ecosystem may be gained by using an insect diversity-inference model. An analysis of many hypotheses used to explain tropical diversity provides a good insight to the many factors that must be considered when designing an ecological experiment. Insects and ground arthropods occupy many environments and “niches” in neo-tropical forests, which are notorious for having many micro-environments. For this reason, and possibly others, the diversity of arthropod species in the new world tropics is unrivaled anywhere else on earth. After an analysis of many hypotheses strengths and weaknesses, an amalgamation of previous ideas about insect diversity was used to support the hypothesis that harsher environments (less rainfall, high elevation, excessive erosion etc.) would contain less insect diversity; while benign environments with plentiful water and moderate environmental condition would contain more insect diversity. The original experimental design was not used due to environmental inconveniences; however some ground samples were taken in different types of forest: Caribbean lowland forest, tropical mountain forest, and Pacific lowland rainforest. Other data came from qualitative observation in several different ecosystems. While the data is not sufficient to draw any conclusions about insect diversity, the qualitative observations suggest a trend that may be supportive of the hypothesized pattern. Serious overhauling of the methods and procedures would validate experimental findings, but more time would be needed to properly execute such an experiment.

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