Presentation Title

Insect community Composition at the Whittier College Campus and Earthworks Community Organic Farm

Faculty Mentor

David Mbora

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

68

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

We postulated that the lawns and flower beds of Whittier college were akin to an inorganic farm because irrigation, artificial pesticides and fertilizers are used to maintain them year-round. As such, we surmised that it would be informative to compare the community composition of insects found on this campus to a nearby organic farm. We defined community composition as the variety of ecological guilds of insects evident at each of the two locations.

Most insects are primary consumers, and thus insect community composition is dependent on the amounts and variety of plants. Therefore, our hypothesis was that the organic farm would have a higher abundance and variety of crop plants types to support a wider variety of ecological guilds of insects. In contrast, the Whittier College campus has largely ornamental plants offering a simplified habitat structure. Specifically, we predicted that there would be a higher abundance of insects with chewing and sucking mouthparts – orders Coleoptera and Orthoptera- on the Whittier College campus due to an abundance of plants year-round. In contrast, we expected a high abundance of pollinator insects such as bees, wasps and butterflies at the organic farm due to an abundance and wider variety of flowering crops.

The same amount of area of was sampled at each location to control for species area effects. Insects were sampled using an identical sampling protocol of standardized pitfall traps at both sites. Upon recovery from the field, the accumulated arthropods were cleaned and sorted, then identified using taxonomical keys to the level of order. Contrary to our prediction, there was a greater abundance of insects with chewing and sucking mouthparts on the organic farm than at Whittier College. However, consistent with our prediction we found a greater abundance of pollinator insects on the organic farm than at Whittier College.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

Insect community Composition at the Whittier College Campus and Earthworks Community Organic Farm

68

We postulated that the lawns and flower beds of Whittier college were akin to an inorganic farm because irrigation, artificial pesticides and fertilizers are used to maintain them year-round. As such, we surmised that it would be informative to compare the community composition of insects found on this campus to a nearby organic farm. We defined community composition as the variety of ecological guilds of insects evident at each of the two locations.

Most insects are primary consumers, and thus insect community composition is dependent on the amounts and variety of plants. Therefore, our hypothesis was that the organic farm would have a higher abundance and variety of crop plants types to support a wider variety of ecological guilds of insects. In contrast, the Whittier College campus has largely ornamental plants offering a simplified habitat structure. Specifically, we predicted that there would be a higher abundance of insects with chewing and sucking mouthparts – orders Coleoptera and Orthoptera- on the Whittier College campus due to an abundance of plants year-round. In contrast, we expected a high abundance of pollinator insects such as bees, wasps and butterflies at the organic farm due to an abundance and wider variety of flowering crops.

The same amount of area of was sampled at each location to control for species area effects. Insects were sampled using an identical sampling protocol of standardized pitfall traps at both sites. Upon recovery from the field, the accumulated arthropods were cleaned and sorted, then identified using taxonomical keys to the level of order. Contrary to our prediction, there was a greater abundance of insects with chewing and sucking mouthparts on the organic farm than at Whittier College. However, consistent with our prediction we found a greater abundance of pollinator insects on the organic farm than at Whittier College.