Event Title

Effects of Emerald Ash Borer on Ant Diversity at Chance Creek Nature Preserve

Location

King Building 241

Start Date

4-27-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 4:20 PM

Abtract

Our project investigates the effects of habitats and the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis- EAB) on ant distribution and abundances at Chance Creek Nature Preserve. EAB has killed hundreds of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in the last 20 years, affecting forest structure by opening canopy light gaps that alter sub-canopy environments. While research has focused on vegetation, no work has examined how these changes affect invertebrate diversity. Ants specifically are critical seed dispersers for a majority of spring ephemerals, so are the focus for this study. In summer 2016, this lab collected ant specimens from pitfall traps in permanent survey plots at Chance Creek Nature Preserve between June and August. We hypothesized that habitat differences influence ant distributions, and we predicted that ant taxa would be non-randomly distributed with respect to plot history and disturbance. I organized and identified ant specimens during summer 2017 - March 2018, with data analysis done in March. I recorded >500 ants in 11 genera from the 72 collecting sites. Two of the genera (Camponotus 56% and Aphaenogaster 22%) were the most abundant. As predicted, the species were distributed in a non-random pattern (p<0.0001); disturbed plots had more genera, but fewer total ants as compared to undisturbed sites. Aphaenogaster spp. are the most important taxa for dispersing spring ephemerals; both are essentially absent from the disturbed plots. Two genera (Tapinoma and Crematogaster) were found only in the disturbed plots. Our research is valuable in understanding the effects of disturbance on forest ecology.

Keywords:

forest ecology, emerald ash borer, habitat disturbance, ash loss, entomology, ant diversity

Notes

Session V, Panel 14 - Ecological | Interactions
Moderator: Roger Laushman, Associate Professor of Biology and David Orr Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Major

Biology; Environmental Studies

Advisor(s)

Roger Laushman, Biology; Environmental Studies

Project Mentor(s)

Roger Laushman, Biology; Environmental Studies

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Apr 27th, 3:00 PM Apr 27th, 4:20 PM

Effects of Emerald Ash Borer on Ant Diversity at Chance Creek Nature Preserve

King Building 241

Our project investigates the effects of habitats and the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis- EAB) on ant distribution and abundances at Chance Creek Nature Preserve. EAB has killed hundreds of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in the last 20 years, affecting forest structure by opening canopy light gaps that alter sub-canopy environments. While research has focused on vegetation, no work has examined how these changes affect invertebrate diversity. Ants specifically are critical seed dispersers for a majority of spring ephemerals, so are the focus for this study. In summer 2016, this lab collected ant specimens from pitfall traps in permanent survey plots at Chance Creek Nature Preserve between June and August. We hypothesized that habitat differences influence ant distributions, and we predicted that ant taxa would be non-randomly distributed with respect to plot history and disturbance. I organized and identified ant specimens during summer 2017 - March 2018, with data analysis done in March. I recorded >500 ants in 11 genera from the 72 collecting sites. Two of the genera (Camponotus 56% and Aphaenogaster 22%) were the most abundant. As predicted, the species were distributed in a non-random pattern (p<0.0001); disturbed plots had more genera, but fewer total ants as compared to undisturbed sites. Aphaenogaster spp. are the most important taxa for dispersing spring ephemerals; both are essentially absent from the disturbed plots. Two genera (Tapinoma and Crematogaster) were found only in the disturbed plots. Our research is valuable in understanding the effects of disturbance on forest ecology.