Ian Maldonado - University of Puerto Rico in Ponce
Insect biodiversity is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, pollution and other factors. This is especially true when working with endemic and island species,since they are confined to specific locations and may be unable to recover as efficiently as other species (New, 2008). Odonata is an ancient group of hemimetabolous insects. They alternate land and freshwater habitats in their life cycles (Ramírez, 2010). Assessing the levels of Odonata endemism is complicated due to outdated information for diversity in the West Indies. At present, only 8 species are known to be endemic to the West Indies.A significant change in their diversity may affect the food chain integrity and community structure. Therefore, updating the species inventory, and determining the distribution of Odonata species in Puerto Rico and in the West Indies is a pivotal step. The purpose of this study is to address the current diversity of Odonata in Puerto Rico and to compare the levels of endemism in the Great Antilles. Also, we want to identify potential critical areas in these islands for the conservation of these insects. Only 30 of the 36 species previously reported from Puerto Rico were collected. and a greater number of species as well as endemic species were observed to be related to a greater island surface area.
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,