Peter Butterfield, Brigid Morgan


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process. Course: BIO 459L



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Different compositions of nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, and fat are important to sustaining insect life and maintaining functions such as moving resources or structure, building nests, and regulating pheromones. Knowledge of limiting nutrients in certain environments for different species of insects is crucial to understand further the makeup of the habitat and what could be done to mitigate a potential lack of nutrients in other similar environments. To observe how different dilutions of nutrients may affect species of insects, GUD (giving up density) vials were used. GUD vials are a method used to capture insects using various baits to attract them. We had 4 different treatments: tuna (protein rich), strawberries (carbohydrate-rich), 10% sugar dilution, and a 20% sugar dilution. These different treatments allowed us to test which nutrients the insects in the area are lacking or which substances they are attracted to. The vials were placed in 4 different areas of interest within the Old River Environmental Research Area. We picked up 1 vial of each treatment at different time intervals (1, 5, and 10 minutes). These trials were run in locations twice, and at the end of each trial, each vial was snapped shut to capture the arthropods inside. We sorted insects to order, and determined how different baits affected insect abundance. We predict that the strawberries and sugar vials will be most attractive to insects as this is a very efficient energy source to produce ATP quickly. Some grasshoppers, beetles, and insects that mostly eat plants may prefer the tuna vials however, as they may need more protein than surrounding plants can give them. The correlation between nutrient deficiency and location is important for ecological management and research, and this study should help in building the link.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Chelse M. Prather

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Life On Land

Determining Macronutrient Needs Among Insects in UD’s Environmental Research Area