Title

Predation Pressure, Salinity, and Distance from the Natal Creek of Odonates Affect the Arthropod Community of Borrichia Frutescens

Year

2010

Season

Summer

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Biology (MA)

Department

Biology

Abstract

In salt marsh ecosystems, aquatic and terrestrial food webs are connected through predators such as dragonflies and damselflies that spend their larval period in water but hunt in terrestrial habitats as adults. The role of these predators in salt marsh food webs is unknown, as is the effect of their variability in soil salinity. The principal goals of this study were: (1) to determine how the distribution and diversity of arthropods of Borrichia .frutescens are affected by the predation pressure exerted by damselflies and dragonflies (2) to determine how distance from the natal creek influences the intensity of predation by odonates and (3) to determine whether variation in soil salinity affects the importance of predation in this system. Treatments in this study were applied in a factorial design with eight replicates per treatment. The results of the top-down and bottom-up manipulations were determined by monthly field counts of the most common arthropods of B . .frutescens. The presence of planthoppers, spiders, and galls were influenced by the placement of cages, and the presence of stemborers and spiders were significantly affected by the distance of the natal of creek of odonates. These results suggest that odonates play an important role in salt marsh food webs, but there is also likely to be significant intraguild predation between odonates and arthropods.

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