Description: This taxonomic key was devised to support development of a Rapid Bioassessment Protocol using ants at the Savannah River Site. The emphasis is on ''rapid'' and, because the available keys contained a large number of genera not known to occur at the Savannah River Site, we found that the available keys were unwieldy. Because these keys contained more genera than we would likely encounter and because this larger number of genera required both more couplets in the key and often required examination of characters that are difficult to assess without higher magnifications (60X or higher) more time was required to process samples. In developing this set of keys I recognize that the character sets used may lead to some errors but I believe that the error rate will be small and, for the purpose of rapid bioassessment, this error rate will be acceptable provided that overall sample sizes are adequate. Oliver and Beattie (1996a, 1996b) found that for rapid assessment of biodiversity the same results were found when identifications were done to morphospecies by people with minimal expertise as when the same data sets were identified by subject matter experts. Basset et al. (2004) concluded that it was not as important to correctly identify all species as it was to be sure that the study included as many functional groups as possible. If your study requires high levels of accuracy, it is highly recommended that when you key out a specimen and have any doubts concerning the identification, you should refer to keys in Bolton (1994) or to the other keys used to develop this area specific taxonomic key.
Date: October 4, 2006
Creator: Martin, D
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department