Presentation Title

Species Diversity of Insects at Whittier College and Earthworks Community Organic Farm

Faculty Mentor

Dr. David N. M. Mbora, PhD

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

70

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Keywords: Arthropods; Insects; Organic farming; Pitfall sampling; Urban biodiversity; Urban ecology; Whittier

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 diversity of insects - and other arthropods – found on the campus to a nearby organic farm.

Most insects are primary consumers whose diversity is dependent on the amounts and variety of plants. Therefore, our hypothesis was that the organic farm would have a higher abundance and wider variety of crop plants types, which would support many more species and individuals of insects. In contrast, the Whittier College campus has a limited variety of plants which would support fewer species and individuals of insects. Therefore, we predicted a higher abundance and species richness – and therefore diversity – of insects and other arthropods on the organic farm.

The same amount of area of was sampled at each location – to control for species area effects – using an identical sampling protocol of standardized pitfall traps at each of the two locations. Plastic screw-cap specimen jars - low form size, 236 ml in capacity – were buried into the ground with the rim level with the soil surface and left in the field for 4-6 days. Upon recovery from the field, the accumulated arthropods were cleaned and sorted, then identified using taxonomic keys to the level of order. At the organic farm, the median species richness was about 8 species, and the median number of individuals was 100. In contrast, the median species richness at Whittier College was 5, and the median number of individuals was 50. Thus, the findings supported our hypothesis of a higher species diversity on the organic farm.

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

Species Diversity of Insects at Whittier College and Earthworks Community Organic Farm

70

Keywords: Arthropods; Insects; Organic farming; Pitfall sampling; Urban biodiversity; Urban ecology; Whittier

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 diversity of insects - and other arthropods – found on the campus to a nearby organic farm.

Most insects are primary consumers whose diversity is dependent on the amounts and variety of plants. Therefore, our hypothesis was that the organic farm would have a higher abundance and wider variety of crop plants types, which would support many more species and individuals of insects. In contrast, the Whittier College campus has a limited variety of plants which would support fewer species and individuals of insects. Therefore, we predicted a higher abundance and species richness – and therefore diversity – of insects and other arthropods on the organic farm.

The same amount of area of was sampled at each location – to control for species area effects – using an identical sampling protocol of standardized pitfall traps at each of the two locations. Plastic screw-cap specimen jars - low form size, 236 ml in capacity – were buried into the ground with the rim level with the soil surface and left in the field for 4-6 days. Upon recovery from the field, the accumulated arthropods were cleaned and sorted, then identified using taxonomic keys to the level of order. At the organic farm, the median species richness was about 8 species, and the median number of individuals was 100. In contrast, the median species richness at Whittier College was 5, and the median number of individuals was 50. Thus, the findings supported our hypothesis of a higher species diversity on the organic farm.