One of the studies that the CAP LTER is involved in is: "How do humans affect biodiversity and how do variations in biodiversity influence humans?” In this long-term study they are monitoring arthropods at various locations throughout Maricopa County. They accomplish this by capturing arthropods (using pit-fall traps) at the various monitoring sites. These traps, usually ten at each location, are approximately five meters apart. These are set up by digging a hole in the ground and lined with four inch PVC piping. Within these pipes a six-inch plastic drinking cup is placed that will capture any arthropods that fall into these pits (Refer to figure 1 and figure 2).

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Figure 1 (Insertion of Plastic Cup)
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Figure 2 (Insertion of Plastic Cup)

These pits are covered with a PVC cap until they are need. To set the traps, so that they can capture arthropods, the caps are removed for a period of two days. After this two-day period, researchers return to each site to collect the arthropods for examination. The specimens from each trap are covered in alcohol and are placed in a labeled jar for further investigation (Refer to figures 3 and 4).
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Figure 3 (Insects from Pit-Fall Traps)
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Figure 4 (Tools Used to ID Insects)

Each preserved specimen jar is returned to the biology lab. In the lab the arthropod contents are examined for identification and the number of each species is recorded. This information is record on predesigned sheets for entry into a database for future analysis.