Aboveground invertebrate responses to land management differences in a central Kansas grassland

TitleAboveground invertebrate responses to land management differences in a central Kansas grassland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsJonas, J, Whiles, MR, Charlton, RE
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Pagination1142 -1152
Accession NumberKNZ00816
Keywordsbiological assessment, Coleoptera, indicator species, Orthoptera

Macroinvertebrate communities in a central Kansas grassland were examined to assess their responses to differences in land management and explore their viability for biological assessment of grasslands. Canopy (drop-trap) and ground-dwelling (pitfall traps) communities were quantitatively sampled from June-September 1998 and 1999. The responses of the whole arthropod community and two focal groups, Coleopteran families and Orthopteran species, to three land use types (brome fields, old fields, and native prairies) were examined. Vegetation analyses reflected clear differences among land use types. Bromus inermis Leyss, an exotic grass, and Andropogon gerardii Vitman, a native grass, dominated brome fields and native prairie sites, respectively. Old fields were composed of a mixture of native and exotic plant species. Coleopteran family richness and diversity were significantly greater in native prairies than brome fields (P < 0.05), whereas orthopteran species richness and diversity peaked in brome fields. Diversity and richness of all arthropod groups examined were significantly, positively correlated with plant species diversity and richness in drop-trap samples (P < 0.05). Coleopteran family diversity and richness in pitfall samples were positively correlated with abundance of native plants, but orthopteran species diversity and richness were negatively correlated with native plant abundance. Coleopteran and orthopteran responses to land use appeared linked to differences in management practices. Whereas coleopterans appeared most influenced by plant community composition, orthopterans showed sensitivity to mechanical disturbance associated with haying on native prairie. Plant and arthropod group diversities were not consistently correlated, demonstrating that arthropod groups can reflect differences in a landscape that may not be apparent from examining plant communities alone.