Date of Graduation

Summer 2019

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Alexander Wait

Keywords

forbs, insect pollinators, insect fidelity, rural remnant prairies, urban prairies

Subject Categories

Biology | Life Sciences | Plant Sciences

Abstract

Prairies support over 800 species of plants, insects, birds, fish, and mammals, even though only 1% of remnant prairies remain in the United States. Importantly, urban prairie “gardens/plots” are gaining popularity for their ecological services. However, it is not known to what extent these small urban prairies can sustain the plant-pollinator interactions that are vital to both the insects and the plants. The goal of my research was to examine plant/pollinator interactions in three urban prairies in southwest Missouri and compare them to rural prairies because rural prairies were predicted to have stronger plant/pollinator networks. Rural units were: Woods Prairie, Providence Prairie, and La Petite Gemme Prairie. Urban units were all in Springfield, MO: Valley Water Mill Park, Kickapoo Edge Prairie at Nathaniel Greene Park, and the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. From May through August 2018, I sampled the five most abundant forbs in bloom, the number of pollinator visits, and fidelity from dawn to dusk in all six units. I also examined the habitat matrices within an 8 km2 radius around each prairie using ArcGIS Pro Online. I found that similarity between focal forb species in rural prairies and urban prairies was low. Insect visitation was significantly dependent on prairie type (rural/ urban), month, insect group, and the interactions between them. Insect fidelity did not significantly differ between rural and urban prairies. The percentage of impervious surfaces in and around prairie types, as well as urban habitat matrices, did not negatively impact insect pollinator visits. These results suggest that current management of urban prairie units may be sufficient to sustain the same level of pollinator services as in rural prairies.

Copyright

© Amanda Lynn Coleman

Open Access

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