Transect Termites

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Data set includes bi-weekly records of number of termites observed within and beneath each of 4 rolls of toilet paper placed at each of 91 stations on treatment and control transects. Observations of presence of termite activity at each roll (paper eaten, cartons constructed) are also included.

Data sources: 

data_JornadaStudy_375_transect_ termite


Field data sheets

Four rebar stakes (18) were driven in the ground forming the corners of 2 one sq. m., approximately 1 m. upslope from each station marker (on the west side of each transect line - except where prevented by shrub growth at station on control transect). A roll of white, generic (unscented) toilet paper (covered on 1 end and around he sides with aluminum foil) is placed on each stake such that the end without foil covering is in contact with the ground. Rolls are numbered 1-4 at each station with numbers 1 and 3 nearest to the transect blocks. Observations are made by lifting each roll and counting the number of termites visible in the roll and on the ground beneath the roll. Presence or absence of termite activity on the roll is also recorded (paper eaten and/or cartons constructed). Observations are made weekly; beginning at sunrise during May-September, or beginning at 0800-1000 during October-November, and March-April. Toilet paper rolls are replaced selectively during the year when markedly reduced by weathering or rodent destruction, or when extensive termite activity erodes a large portion of a roll, such that 25% or less of the roll surface is in contact with the soil and/or the roll mass is reduced by 25%. Rolls are replaced between sample periods and the roll number of each new roll is included as an observation at the next sample date.

Additional information: 

In the spring of 1982, as part of the establishment of the Jornada Long-Term Ecological Research site in southern New Mexico, a 135 ha portion of a 1500 ha, internally drained, watershed was exclosed from grazing by domestic livestock. Prior to exclosure the watershed, as well as the rest of the Jornada basin, had been moderately to heavily grazed for the past 100 years. Concurrent with grazing, the vegetation had undergone a dramatic change from desert grassland, with an almost continuous cover of C4 perennial grasses, to isolated patches of the original grassland in a mosaic with desert shrub dominated plant communities (Buffington and Herbel, 1965). The exclosure lies along a northeast facing piedmont slope at the base of a steep isolated mountain peak, and covers a variety of component landforms from the foot of the mountain to the basin floor. The northeast side of the exclosure is immediately upslope of the College Playa located near the NMSU College Ranch. Three parallel transects (2.7 km in length) run from the middle of the College Playa up into the foot of Mt. Summerford. The Control transect is to the west, the Treatment transect on the east side of the Control transect, and the Alternate Control to the east of the Treatment transect. Each transect is 30 meters wide with a 45 meter buffer zone between each transect. The Treatment transect was treated annually until 1987 with NHNO3 in a concentration equal to 10g N/m2. The station markers at 30 meter intervals along each transect.



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