Ecotone effects on flying invertebrate communities in a temperate hardwood forest
Transitional areas between ecosystems, called ecotones, are areas of biotic and abiotic change often leading to differences in plant communities and soil conditions. Invertebrate communities taking advantage of surrounding plant and soil conditions are likely to structure their own communities around favored resources. Flying invertebrates have the unique advantage of avoiding ground obstacles giving them a larger range to gather and utilize resources. As a result, flying invertebrate communities should be less strictly structured based on surrounding plant communities or abiotic factors. To test this, we conducted a survey of the flying invertebrate communities to compare to existing tree and soil surveys. We used baited traps to collect invertebrates during 4 separate collection time points, preserved samples in ethanol, and then sight-identified to lowest practical taxonomic level. This study was conducted in Jennings Woods, a temperate hardwood forest in NE Ohio comprised of unique ecosystems – riparian, upland, and bottomland forests – separated by elevational gradients, each with its own particular soil parameters. We found that, in general, the flying invertebrate community is not structured around the tree community nor the soil, as expected. However, community structure did show a relation to ecosystem type. We also found that diversity and richness were significantly different between ecosystems and dates. This suggests that there are ecosystem and time differences structuring flying invertebrate communities, but they are not limited by the surrounding soil and tree communities.
Cosgrove, Colleen R.; Blackwood, Christopher B.; and Kershner, Mark W.(2019). Ecotone effects on flying invertebrate communities in a temperate hardwood forest. Environmental Science & Design Research Initiative. Paper 12.