As an ecologist who has used exclosures (Figure 1) to disentangle interactions among multiple species, I often receive emails with basic questions about exclosure construction, net mesh size, sample size needs, and the like. I typically write up a response describing my own experiences, but have often thought it would be nice to have a publication to refer to --one that could provide insight, warnings, and recommendations garnered from trial and error. When I was a Master's student, I certainly could have used such a resource as I wondered how other researchers handled issues that were never discussed in their publications: has anybody else ever had birds get inside their exclosures? What are the pluses and minuses of a particular mesh size? Does anybody else have issues with predatory spiders camping out on their exclosures? Is PVC the best option?
Fig. 1. Experimental exclosures of birds and bats in (A) coffee plantations in Costa Rica, ©Daniel Karp; (B) cacao plantations in Indonesia, ©Bea Maas; (C) walnut orchards in the United States ©Sacha Heath; and (D) alfalfa fields in the United States ©Sara Kross.
It appears that a handful of other ecologists have had similar experiences, and Dr. Bea Maas decided to helm the effort to do something about it. The result is our recent collaborative publication in Basic and Applied Ecology where we discuss methodological insights, potential improvements, and cost-benefit trade-offs of exclosure techniques. Our hope is that this will be a useful resource for graduate student and seasoned researchers alike. Head on over to my publications page to request a reprint.
Maas, B., S. Heath, I. Grass, C. Cassano, A. Classen, D. Faria, P. Gras, K. Williams-Guillén, M. Johnson, D. S. Karp, V. Linden, A. Martínez-Salinas, J. Schmack, and S. Kross. 2019. Experimental field exclosure of birds and bats in agricultural systems - methodological insights, potential improvements, and cost-benefit trade-offs. Basic and Applied Ecology 35:1-12.
The Urban Scientist
Tenure, She Wrote
Small Pond Science
Natural History Institute
Cool Green Science
Open Access Ecology Journals