Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Adrianna Chambers - Hinds Community College
Co-Author(s): Anajah Coleman, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS; Bria Goodson, Delta State University, Cleveland, MS; Farae Jackson, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Humans are destroying the habitats that plants, animals, and insects need to thrive and carry out biological processes. This human interaction also disturbs the biodiversity of these habitats. The patterns of insect behavior can be beneficial in studying the biodiversity of various habitats because they are a direct indicator when a habitat has been disturbed. When the area around them changes, they are forced to change as well. Scarabaeinae dung beetles have been utilized for the purpose of this study. Dung beetles are responsible for many tasks within their environment such as fertilizing the soil and promoting plant growth. On the 24th and 25th day of May 2019, Scarabaeinae were collected using baited pitfall traps and classified into their respective genus, sizes and guild to test the hypothesis that Closed habitat represented by secondary Scrub Forest (SF) is likely to harbor more dung beetles owing to favorable physical factors and availability of food in the form of mammalian dung when compared to Open Habitat (OPH). This collection occurred on the campus of the University of Belize. Open Habitat (OPH) represented an exposed habitat with little to no shade from neighboring trees whereas the Scrub Forest (SF) served as a representation of a closed habitat which was covered by bushes, trees, and grasses. This study rendered 83 dung beetles which were classified into 16 species. The beetles were further classified by their size and functional guild which were rollers, tunnelers, and dwellers. Beetle species abundance did not vary between habitats but varied between bait types. There was no direct linkage between the magnitude of biodiversity in an open habitat versus a closed habitat. The removal of original forest habitat and prolonged anthropogenic disturbance in the region has resulted in the disappearance of forest specialist species and colonization of heliophiles and synanthropic species. This is alarming since dung beetles play such a crucial biological role in ecosystems and change in species composition has changed over time resulting from anthropogenic disturbance can affect the services they render to the ecosystem. It is necessary to conduct and document the biodiversity within this region continuously to observe if species abundance will increase or decrease in the years to come.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): LSAMP and NSF
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Noel Gardner, email@example.com
Role: I participated in the collection of the specimen and the data analysis. I also contributed to the synthesis of the research into a word document.