9870233 Rosenberg The terrestrial mollusk and millipede faunas of Jamaica will be intensively sampled, along with other soil and leaf litter invertebrates. About 550 described species of snails and slugs are recorded from Jamaica, of which 505 (92%) are endemic, occurring nowhere else in the world. About 52 described species of millipedes are recorded, of which 48 (92%) are endemic. The mollusk fauna of Jamaica is as diverse as any in the world, and it is largely extant, unlike the mostly extinct terrestrial mollusk faunas of oceanic islands in the Pacific. Although less than 20% of the original forest cover of Jamaica remains, and deforestation continues, patches of forest survive in many areas too rugged for agriculture, and secondary forest has also grown in many abandoned plantations. Even among Jamaican birds and reptiles, only a few species have gone extinct, so it may still be possible to sample a large portion of the island's original invertebrate fauna; however, the window of opportunity is rapidly disappearing. Collections resulting from this research should at least double the millipede fauna and increase the mollusk fauna by around 25%. Other invertebrates will be made available to specialists who have agreed to study Coleoptera (beetles), Orthoptera (crickets, cockroaches), Hymenoptera (ants), Arachnida (spiders, scorpions, pseudoscorpions) and Onychophora (peripatus). Residues from sorting will be preserved for further processing for Acari (mites), Collembola (springtails), etc. The proposed research will be the most extensive sampling of invertebrates ever performed in Jamaica, with 180 field days over three years. Sampling methods will include hand picking, leaf litter and soil sampling, and pitfall trapping. An estimated 1,000,000 specimens will be collected, including 14,000 lots of mollusks (sorted to species) and 14,000 lots of arthropods (sorted more or less to ordinal level). Hundreds of new species are likely to be discovered. Knowledge of species-level biodiversity and site-specific ecological data will provide a baseline for future researchers studying systematics and evolution, faunal distribution patterns, factors influencing diversity, and conservation and restoration biology. Collection data for all material will be published on WWW, as will distribution maps and identification guides for all known species of Jamaican terrestrial mollusks, and lists of other Jamaican terrestrial invertebrates.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Environmental Biology (DEB)
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Lawrence M. Page
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Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia
United States
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