Raef Khamis Ali Saif Al Hamedi, Grace Litavsky, Abbey Raison, Sarah Metz, Rianna Soltis


Presentation: 10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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The City of Dayton is interested in implementing two new solar fields similar to University of Dayton’s established solar prairie at Curran Place. The proposed sites were both managed lawns, one of which was in the city’s water treatment plant (referred to as Water Treatment) and the other is a brown field where a paint factory burned down in 1987 (referred to as Sherwin Williams). Insects are an important part of ecosystems because they are important to food webs and aid in pollination of plants. The question we wanted to answer was if the established solar prairie at Curran Place is a beneficial ecosystem that supports high insect biodiversity and if the proposed sites should be treated in the same way. Our hypothesis was that the solar prairie would be more biodiverse than the managed lawns/proposed solar sites. We set up four transects at each city managed lawn and six transects at Curran place (four under the solar panels and two in the prairie vegetation surrounding panels), and at each transect we placed pitfall traps, pan traps, and sweepnetted along the transect. After sorting the captured insects by order in the lab, we found that the established solar prairie at Curran Place had the lowest total number of insects, but the highest insect biodiversity out of all three sites. This study shows that the diversity of flowering plants is beneficial for insect populations as it promotes biodiversity. If the City of Dayton moves forward with implementing solar prairies on these lawns, planting a similar seed mix and applying similar treatments to these two sites as the Curran Place would create a diverse ecosystem for native insect populations.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project 202280 BIO 479L M1

Primary Advisor

Chelse Prather, Stephanie Murray

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences

Buggin' Out about Solar Prairies