38 - In deep 'shit'
A less special feed would have allowed a more representative census among the beetles.
Because they are cheap and ubiquitious, biologists have used human faeces to take stock of faecal insects. Since some species find this food significantly more attractive than others, this procedure might have distorted the monitoring of local biodiversity, as studies by the Oxford zoologist Elizabeth Raine show. Alternative methods are currently being evaluated. The previous standard might be suboptimal and the concerted development of a new standard is the next logical step.
History shows that traditional approaches should be questioned in terms of their impact on the results and that it can be important to develop a measurement procedure that pinpoints better what actually needs to be counted . At the same time, it becomes clear that the use of standards facilitates uniform error corrections and a consistent introduction of new procedures.