Name: Virginia E. Roberts
Minor: Earth Science
Advisors: Dr. Carlo Moreno, Dr. Jennifer Ison (second reader)
Cavity nesting wasps are contributors to ecosystem services such as pest suppression and function as important indicator species for ecological change. Previous studies have indicated bottom-up population regulation in the system, and specifically the importance of woody habitat as sources of diverse and abundant cavity-nester populations, while non-woody habitats function as diversity-abundance sinks. To better understand how local plant resources and woody habitat influence communities of cavity-nesters, six trap nests were placed throughout Wooster Memorial Park in Wooster, Ohio from August to November 2020. The impact of six potential drivers of the density of cavity-nesters which colonized these nests was quantified using linear regression and correlation analysis: local woody and nonwoody plant densities and diversity, floral cover, and deadwood density. The results of the analyses support the hypothesis that local standing deadwood drives the density of cavity nesting hymenopterans was found. Additionally, resource heterogeneity was favored over resource abundance as a driver of cavity-nester densities. In the context of global loss of deadwood, and increasing fragmentation of woody habitats, snag preservation or the construction of artificial nesting site structures may become important management practices for insect conservation in both backyard and natural area settings.
Virginia will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST: 9-11am, Africa/Europe: late afternoon)