Date of Graduation

Spring 2012

Degree

Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture

Department

College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Michael Burton

Keywords

arthropods, habitat, native warm-season grasses, bio-solids, poultry litter

Subject Categories

Agriculture

Abstract

Northern bobwhite numbers have declined 75% nationally, 68% in Missouri. Native warm-season grass (NWSG) establishment is often used to combat this decline. NWSG is managed with burning and grazing; burning alone; or a burn, hay, rest rotation. Haying and/or burning recycle fewer nutrients to the soil than grazing. Under historical systems, grazing animals cycled nutrients to the soil through excrement. A study was conducted in each of two years to determine the effects of fertilizers on two NWSG establishments in relation to bobwhite habitat and diet. Treatments included: Control (no fertilizer); Mineral (68kg/ha Y1 PAN); Poultry Litter (68kg/ha Y1 PAN); Bio-solids (68kg/ha Y1 PAN); and Bio-solids (34kg/ha Y1 PAN). Bobwhite habitat assessments included percent of ground cover types, and visual obstruction. Arthropods were also sampled using a sweep net. Treatments had no effect on any ground cover type, visual obstruction readings (VOR), or total arthropod number (P>0.20). Coleoptera and Homoptera number increased under the poultry and mineral fertilizer treatments, respectively, according to orthogonal contrasts. Year and/or unit effects were observed for percent bare ground (P<0.04), grass (P<0.001), forb+legume (P<0.001), and VOR (P<0.008). Year, unit, and/or sampling date affected total arthropod number by order, varying among orders. Weather, extant vegetation, and natural fluctuations of arthropod populations were most influential on vegetative ground cover, structure, and arthropod number. Fertilization treatments were found to have no effect on bobwhite micro-habitat characteristics.

Copyright

© Ashley Diane Schnake

Campus Only

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