Faculty Mentor

Gareth Hopkins




Insect communities are sensitive to changes in their habitat including light and moisture levels, and as such can be considered important indicators of environmental change. We studied the abundance, diversity, and composition of insect families within three contrasting habitats in a 100-ha endangered oak ecosystem in central Oregon in order to gain baseline knowledge of these communities and how they might change with habitat restoration. Sampled habitats included an open-grassy savannah, semi-open woodland, and a conifer-deciduous mixed forest. Approximately 500 insects were collected and identified in Fall 2019. There was no significant difference in the mean number or diversity of insects collected in the different habitats. However, there was a difference in the composition of insect communities, with mixed conifer-oak forests having significantly different types of insects than the relatively interchangeable savannah and woodland. This important baseline information will allow us to assess the success of our restoration efforts in this endangered ecosystem.






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