Sample numbers for microhistological estimation of fecal vizcacha diets.

Author: 
Bontti, E.E.
Boo, R.M.
Publisher: 
Rangeland Ecology & Management / Journal of Range Management Archives
Publication Year: 
2002
Description: 
Precise estimates of diet composition are useful to assess herbivores impact on rangelands and to make management decisions. Since the variability within- and between-samples affect precision of estimates on diet studies, we studied this variability in diets of the rodent vizcacha (Lagostomus maximus Blainv.). We analyzed fecal pellets using a microhistological technique and we estimated the number of samples and subsamples required to achieve given confidence levels. Diets of this herbivore, which is thought to compete with cattle for forage, were studied in November 1994, May, July, and October 1995 in a mixed shrub-grassland community of the southern Caldenal in central Argentina. Most grasses, the main components of the diets (> 80%), were estimated with high precision (confidence interval: CI = 10%, p = 0.05) by observing 14 samples and 5 slides per sample. Forbs (5-6%) and shrubs (12%) were estimated with this same number of samples and slides, but yielded a lower level of precision (CI = 20%, p = 0.10). Although our results may not be directly applicable to other vegetation or herbivores, the procedures may be used in other situations to improve precision of diet estimates through microhistological analysis of feces.DOI:10.2458/azu_jrm_v55i5_bontti
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Society for Range Management

Rangeland Ecology & Management (formerly the Journal of Range Management) serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of facts, ideas, and philosophies pertaining to the study, management, ecology, and use of rangelands and their resources. The journal is peer-reviewed and provides international exchange of scholarly research and information among persons interested in rangelands. The Global Rangelands collection includes REM content up to 5 years from the current year. More recent content is available by subscription from BioOne and the Society for Range Management, and may be available at your local university library.
(Become a SRM member)