Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 1090-6924
Volume 66 Number 2: 39-45 - August 2004

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Estimating Subterranean Species Richness Using Intensive Sampling and Rarefaction Curves in a High Density Cave Region in West Virginia
Katie Schneider and David C. Culver


Species richness in a group of caves in the 21.25 km² corner of the USGS 7½ minute Williamsburg quadrangle, 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.

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