Influence of prairie restoration on Hemiptera diversity and functional traits
The Hemiptera (the true bugs) are an abundant and varied order of insects including leafhoppers, aphids, cicadas, stink bugs, and more. They play an important role in grassland ecosystems, feeding on plant sap and acting as prey for many predators. In order to expand the field of prairie restoration, I seek to investigate the Hemiptera as their abundance, functional roles, and response to disturbance makes them ideal as study organisms. It is also important to understand functional traits such as dispersal abilities to understand what types of taxa are colonizing a habitat, and Hemiptera such as leafhoppers can be used as a model for this. Previous research has found that leafhoppers follow a predictable pattern in habitat succession: generalists with greater dispersal abilities colonize early successional sites, and specialists with inferior dispersal abilities follow. This research aims to answer three questions regarding prairie restoration: 1- Do more recently restored prairies host a different composition of Hemiptera than older restored and remnant prairies? 2- Do more recently restored prairies host a higher proportion of leafhoppers with superior dispersal abilities than older restored and remnant prairies? And 3- Do more recently restored prairies host a higher proportion of generalist leafhoppers than older restored and remnant prairies? Insect samples were taken via sweep net from 13 local prairies (7 restored and 6 remnant) in summers 2017, 2018, and 2019, and sorted to order. I am currently organizing Hemiptera into morphospecies. I will then identify specialist and generalist leafhoppers, and record dispersal abilities based on wing size and known literature. The questions answered in this research will benefit the field of restoration and help us to more accurately evaluate the success of local restoration projects.
Chelse M. Prather
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Life On Land
"Influence of prairie restoration on Hemiptera diversity and functional traits" (2020). Stander Symposium Projects. 1980.