Fear no weevil: insect communities as indicators of restoration in an urban prairie network
Tallgrass prairies are one of North America’s most threatened ecosystems, having been depleted to 4% of its original range. Because of this, conservationists have been working to protect the remaining prairies, as well as restoring and constructing new ones. However, studies are showing that these restored and constructed prairies may not support the same biodiversity and ecosystem services as natural prairies. Most of the biodiversity within these prairies is composed of arthropods. We determined how insect communities from remnant prairies (n=5) compare to that of constructed prairies (n=5) and old fields (n=4). At each site, we collected 4 samples of arthropods by sweepnetting 25 times each, pooling samples, and identifying all individuals to order. We also sampled plant and soil community characteristics. We saw that habitat type affected the number of Coleoptera (beetles), with more beetles in remnant prairies than restored or constructed prairies. Individuals from this order were identified to family, and we saw higher numbers of Phalacridae (shining flower beetles) and Curculionidae (weevils) in the remnant prairie sites. Because few studies look at organisms other than plants to determine success of restoration efforts, we see these beetles as potential indicator species that may help land managers in determining the success of prairie restorations.
Kathleen A Kargl, Chelse M Prather
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium poster
"Fear no weevil: insect communities as indicators of restoration in an urban prairie network" (2018). Stander Symposium Posters. 1246.