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    Collecting methods

    Various combinations of methods are used for sampling of our study areas, depending on the focus of the particular project.

    The most comprehensive protocol is used for beta-diversity studies, where several collecting methods are applied in each sampling plot, which is then replicated within and among localities.

    Sampling protocol for ground/undestory foraging and leaf litter fauna:

    • Square plot of 20m x 20m, with at least six plots in primary forest and four in secondary forest at each study site.
    • In each plot 25 tuna bait traps are placed on the ground in grid manner, separated by 5 m intervals and another 25 baits are placed on vegetation in an identical grid fashion between 1 and 2 m above the forest floor.
    • Nine Winkler leaf litter samples are collected within a plot in 10m distances, with an extraction period of three days.
    • Whole plot is exhaustively searched (hand collection), any available nesting microhabitat is surveyed starting from soil up to a height of two meters from the forest floor, the minimum collecting time is four person-hours per plot.

    Canopy fauna

    • Trees are climbed by single rope technique and ants are collected by hand or with use of bait traps.
    • If the opportunity arises and trees are being locally cut down for building materials, freshly fallen trees are exhaustively searched for nesting and foraging ants.
    • During our foodweb project a complete survey of ant communities in a one hectare plot of primary and a one hectare plot of secondary lowland forest was undertaken. Colonies and foraging individuals were collected from all trees with DBH > 5 cm which were gradually felled during preparation of a traditional food garden.

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