Sometimes while conducting one of the probes you discover that due to random circumstances one of the sections that had been randomly and systematically picked that you were planning on sampling is missing or damaged. There are several options listed below:
You could randomly choose another starting section among the other possible starting points such that the missing section won’t be needed.
If you are using an interval greater than one and know something about the system you are sampling and you don’t think there are significant changes between sections, you could simply substitute a neighboring section for the missing section. You don’t want to do this to the extent that your section sub fraction is wrong, but a little jitter in the increment of the sections may not hurt.
If you think the mean of all the section counts or perhaps of the two adjacent sections is the appropriate number to use for the missing section then you can use one of those means. Don’t do this for too many sections though, probably not more than one, as this is not real data for the missing section.
This FAQ comes from stereology.info, our curated collection of information and references regarding the use of stereology in the biological sciences. Feel free to review the other FAQs there as well. We hope this thread will spark some in-depth discussion on stereology!