Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Thomas Bragg
Insect diversity was compared between and among three native and three restored wet-mesic tallgrass prairies along the Platte River in central Nebraska in order to assess both the relative success of restorations and the relationship between insect and plant diversity. Insects were sampled using sweep nets from two transects within each prairie during early June, mid-July, and mid-August 2000. Plant species composition was assessed along each transect in early June and mid-August. A total of 71 leafhopper, 12 planthopper, 3 treehopper, and 11 ant taxa were identified, of which 20 were prairie endemic and 16 were highly remnant-dependent. Eighty-five plant taxa were also identified. For leafhoppers and treehoppers, both Species Richness and Shannon diversity were higher for restorations (for leafhoppers, S = 17.1 ± 0.98 taxa/400 sweeps and H’ = 1.38; for treehoppers, S = 0.7 ± 0.18 taxa/400 sweeps and H’ = 0.290) than for native prairies (for leafhoppers, S = 13.6 ± 0.75 taxa/400 sweeps and H’ = 1.24; for treehoppers, S = 0.06 ± 0.056 taxa/400 sweeps and H’ = 0) and the differences were significant (P ≤ 0.05). Similar trends were observed for planthoppers although differences were significant only for Shannon diversity. As with all three insect groups, both Species Richness and Shannon diversity of plants were higher at the restored prairies (S = 15.6 ±1.57 taxa/20-m transect, H’ =1.07) than at native prairies (S = 14.3 ± 1.27 taxa/20-m transect, H’ = 1.04) although differences were not significant. The difference in plant diversity between restored and native prairies most likely reflects the combined effects of the high-diversity seen mix used in prairie restorations and the effects of long term management or fragmentation that may have reduced plant diversity, however, emphasized both the relationship between the two and the importance of restoring or managing prairies to maximize plant diversity.
Nemec, Kristine Trinette, "Insect Communities of Native and Restored Wet-Mesic Tallgrass Prairies in Central Nebraska: Leafhoppers, Planthoppers, Treehoppers, and Ants." (2003). Student Work. 3331.
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