Monday, December 11, 2006

Saproxylic beetles in the rough

Michael L. Ferro, and Christopher E. Carlton, Louisiana State University, 402 Life Sciences Building, Baton Rouge, LA

Dead trees have long and rich lives. Larger pieces of dead wood, known as coarse woody debris (CWD), have been recognized as important habitat for many species in the three major kingdoms. Both logs and standing snags are colonized and abandoned by many species as succession advances and the CWD looses individuality. Human alterations have replaced vast expanses of natural forest with young, often managed forests resulting in a reduction of the amount and size of available CWD. This research is centered on elucidating how these changes have affected the saproxylic beetle community of forests in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Six sites were visited, three each in primary and secondary forests. In April 2006 we recorded basal tree area and volume of CWD at each site. Additionally dead wood of two sizes (fine=2.5-7.0 cm diameter, coarse=8.0-20.0 cm diameter) and three decay classes (I, II, III/IV) from which to rear beetles was collected at each site. During June 2006, flight intercept traps were erected at each site to collect additional flying saproxylic beetles. A description of the methods, some early results, and the challenges associated with collecting from this habitat are presented.

Species 1: Coleoptera