Grasshopper and bee communities on Missouri prairies : comparing reconstructions and remnants
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Tallgrass prairies once occupied a large swath of central North America, but now face the combined challenges of habitat loss and fragmentation. In Missouri, where less than 1% the historical prairie remains, prairies are being reconstructed from agricultural or wooded land. The success of reconstructed grasslands is often assessed based on the extent to which native prairie plants have reestablished. Invertebrates, which make up a large portion of prairie biodiversity, are often assumed to colonize reconstructions if native vegetation returns. However, the limited mobility of many invertebrates, the isolation of many tallgrass remnants, and the difficulty in establishing prairie plants raises serious questions as to whether invertebrate communities on reconstructed prairies are and will be equivalent to those found on remnant prairies. To evaluate the effectiveness of prairie reconstructions in restoring grassland invertebrate communities, we sampled two guilds of terrestrial invertebrates: native bees (Anthophila) and grasshoppers (Acrididae). The first objective of this project was to compare grasshopper and bee communities on reconstructions to those on remnants by evaluating species richness, diversity, and community composition. We sought to identify species or functional groups associated with remnants or reconstructions that could be used to monitor invertebrate communities on reconstructions and remnants in the future. The second objective was to evaluate the effects of prairie reconstruction age on grasshopper and bee communities to determine if communities on reconstructions are converging with remnants.
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