Geostatistical analysis was used to map traditionally and acoustically sampled populations of soil invertebrates at two different times in a hayfield at Grove Hill, AL, and once in an Auburn, AL, hayfield. The distributions of nearly all the soil invertebrates and their sounds were nonrandom in all three mapping studies. The maps constructed by excavation and acoustic sampling methods were compared by correlating the estimated (kriged) soil invertebrate counts with the estimated (kriged) counts of sounds per minute (pulse rate). Acoustic and traditional estimates were positively correlated in the Auburn study. Kriged estimates for green June beetle grub counts overlapped significantly with kriged estimates of sound pulse rate (R2 = 0.47). Overlap with sound pulse rates increased slightly when other soil organisms were counted along with green June beetle grubs: estimates of sound pulse rates were significantly correlated with counts of all white grubs (R2 = 0.50), all white grubs with earthworms (R2 = 0.52), all white grubs with earthworms and earwigs (R2 = 0.59), and total invertebrates (R2 = 0.59). The correlation between acoustic and traditional estimates was not significant at Grove Hill in either year, possibly because of a lack of experience in signal analysis or because the soil invertebrates may not have generated enough sounds to be detected above the background noise levels. These results suggest that acoustic technology is a promising tool for detecting insect pests in soil, but that further study and additional analysis are needed to improve interpretation of acoustic data obtained in the field.
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Vol. 94 • No. 6