Location

King Building 241

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-27-2018 3:00 PM

End Date

4-27-2018 4:20 PM

Abstract

Agricultural expansion presents one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, causing local and global extinctions. Agriculture is the main land use in northern Ohio, particularly corn and soybean monocultures. Invertebrate communities promote plant growth, comprise an essential step in the food chain, and maintain healthy soil (Altieri, 1999). Monoculture farming tends to reduce invertebrate diversity, which depends on environmental heterogeneity and plant diversity (Diekotter 2010). While the effect of conventional agriculture on bird and mammal populations is widely acknowledged, less is known about the invertebrate populations on which these larger animals depend. This study hypothesized that post-agricultural fields support larger, more diverse communities of macroinvertebrates than cultivated fields. Specifically, we predicted that macroinvertebrates from pitfall traps in the Oberlin solar fields would constitute greater biomass and diversity than those from the nearby soybean field. On property owned by Oberlin College, a conventionally-farmed soybean field stands 200m from a former corn and soybean field that has been left unmanaged since 2011. Pitfall traps were used to collect invertebrate samples in both fields over seven weeks in September through November of 2017 and macroinvertebrates were classified into orders, suborders, or families. The post-agricultural field showed higher invertebrate diversity and biomass as well as other differences in community structure compared to the agricultural field. Learning how invertebrates recolonize farmland will help us understand how natural ecosystems maintain healthy invertebrate communities and prevent dominance by any one pest species.

Keywords:

biology, agriculture, invertebrates, diversity, conservation, sustainability

Notes

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

Major

Biology; Neuroscience

Advisor(s)

Mary Garvin, Biology
Jan Thornton, Neuroscience

Project Mentor(s)

Roger Laushman, Biology

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

Invertebrate Diversity in an Agricultural and Post-Agricultural Field in Oberlin, Ohio

King Building 241

Agricultural expansion presents one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, causing local and global extinctions. Agriculture is the main land use in northern Ohio, particularly corn and soybean monocultures. Invertebrate communities promote plant growth, comprise an essential step in the food chain, and maintain healthy soil (Altieri, 1999). Monoculture farming tends to reduce invertebrate diversity, which depends on environmental heterogeneity and plant diversity (Diekotter 2010). While the effect of conventional agriculture on bird and mammal populations is widely acknowledged, less is known about the invertebrate populations on which these larger animals depend. This study hypothesized that post-agricultural fields support larger, more diverse communities of macroinvertebrates than cultivated fields. Specifically, we predicted that macroinvertebrates from pitfall traps in the Oberlin solar fields would constitute greater biomass and diversity than those from the nearby soybean field. On property owned by Oberlin College, a conventionally-farmed soybean field stands 200m from a former corn and soybean field that has been left unmanaged since 2011. Pitfall traps were used to collect invertebrate samples in both fields over seven weeks in September through November of 2017 and macroinvertebrates were classified into orders, suborders, or families. The post-agricultural field showed higher invertebrate diversity and biomass as well as other differences in community structure compared to the agricultural field. Learning how invertebrates recolonize farmland will help us understand how natural ecosystems maintain healthy invertebrate communities and prevent dominance by any one pest species.