D0203 Examining the effects of tropical canopy removal within agricultural plots on leaf litter Formicidae

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Hall D, First Floor (Convention Center)
Cody Murnen , University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Stacy M. Philpott , Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Deforestation in tropical areas can have immense effects on the ecological communities that exist within that specific area. Major agricultural practice is one of the leading causes of tropical deforestation. Loss of natural habitat can have devastating effects on natural plant and animal communities. Examination of insect populations is a useful technique for assessing the health of an ecosystem. Our research focused on the family of insects, Formicidae. We sampled leaf-litter ants using Mini-Winkler samplers in two habitat areas located in Chiapas, Mexico. The first habitat was a traditional shade coffee farm that had an overshadowing canopy and had not been disturbed for several years. The second site was within a coffee farm that had recently experienced a severe shade canopy thinning (pruning). Leaf samples were collected from specific hectare plots within each farm. We then left ants to filter out in litter traps for 48 hours. Once the ants had been filtered, they were stored in alcohol and later identified to species or morphospecies. Finally, we examined the trends in species richness and abundance to determine the effects that canopy removal had on the Formicidae populations.

doi: 10.1603/ICE.2016.42924