Year of Publication

2010

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel Moon

Second Advisor

Dr. Dale Casamatta

Third Advisor

Dr. Anthony Rossi

Department Chair

Dr. Courtney T. Hackney

College Dean

Dr. Barbara A. Hetrick

Abstract

The goal of ecological restoration is to return degraded or altered ecosystems to their pre-disturbed state with respect to ecosystem structure, function, and composition. In the current study the research objective was to reestablish high levels of biodiversity on two restored pine plantations as well as restore a native pine flatwoods ecosystem. Managed, even-aged pine flatwoods are now the most extensive ecosystem in North Florida, comprising approximately 70% of the forested landscape. Slash pine trees were thinned in the experimental plots to restore the natural slash pine density of native ecosystems. In addition to the thinning treatments, experimental plots have been clear-cut and all vegetation removed from the plots. Arthropods were sampled by employing pitfall traps, sticky traps and sweep netting. This study assesseed the success of the restoration techniques employed by looking at biodiversity with a fine-resolution, taxonomically narrow approach by identifying the arthropods down to the taxonomic level of family and determining the number of morphospecies. Species were also subdivided into functional groups based upon the ecosystem services that they provide and their trophic level. Analyses revealed that arthropod species and guild diversity was not significantly affected by treatments in both 2008 and 2009. The experimental treatments were able to recover to pre-disturbance levels after two years following restoration. This indicates that these arthropod communities are fairly resilient and are able to recover fairly quickly following perturbation. Interestingly, community similarity measures revealed that although the experimental treatments were no more diverse than control plots the community species composition was fairly dissimilar between treatments, with plots becoming more dissimilar from 2008 to 2009. More long term data should reveal if these plots are proceeding along different successional trajectories in terms of community species composition and also will allow us to gain more insight into the long term effect of the treatments on biodiversity.

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Biology Commons

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