To measure the influence of plant community on the
diversity of ground arthropods. This is a study students can conduct on
their soil sample. Comparing data can be a yearlong study.
Small yogurt container
Large yogurt container
Shallow cone (cardboard covered by aluminum)
Lid with 4 supports
1. Have students construct pitfall trap
according to design. See below. (also available for purchase in science
2. In outdoor area, have students select
their own plot of land to study. Select a variety of soil types with varying
vegetations so data can be compared.
3. Using hand trowels students dig a hole
large enough to fit a large yogurt container with its top level with the
4. Fit trap into ground; cover the top with
a lid that acts only to protect against other particles from dropping
into pit. It should not prevent arthropods from crawling up to edge of
5. After 24 hours remove small yogurt container
and strain insects. Replace small container and antifreeze.
Other research questions:
1. How does the plant community affect the
diversity and number of ground arthropods?
2. How do ground arthropod numbers change
in response to the seasons.
3. How do different soil types affect the
numbers and diversity of ground arthropods?
Next page Pitfall Trap:
1. Traps should be set so there is no space
between cone and large container and ground.
2. Lid should be supported by 4 legs in such
a way that insects can crawl under lid. Top of lid should be camouflaged.
3. When sampling the trap, remove the small
yogurt container. Strain insects from fluid and replace antifreeze. Small
container can be put back inside trap for more collections.
Adapted from Bob Madar