In order to investigate why sodium, combined with macronutrients, led to a spike in grasshopper abundance in a Texas prairie field, laboratory and field studies were conducted in Ohio and Texas to understand if sodium has an effect on grasshopper growth and development. These effects could happen directly, by altering grasshopper physiology, or indirectly by altering the plant communities that grasshoppers eat. To examine direct effects, grasshoppers were captured, reared, and fed diets with varying amounts of sodium. Indirect effects were examined by collecting the most dominant plants within plots treated with different micro and macronutrients, and feeding them to grasshoppers. The growth and development of each individual was tracked and treatment groups were compared. Direct effects could not be tested, but we did find an indirect significant difference in the change in weight of one species that fed off plants grown in a plot treated with nitrogen, phosphorus, and sodium. We speculate this result could be due to the high nutrient content of the plants and look into other factors that could have affected the results. The potential direct effects of sodium are also discussed along with the economic and environmental implications they could have.
This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.
Ghastine, Mark, "Direct and Indirect Effects of Additional Sodium on Grasshopper Growth and Development" (2020). Honors Theses. 258.