Effects of forest disturbance on ground-dwelling invertebrate dispersal

Monday, June 1, 2015
Big Basin (Manhattan Conference Center)
Kayla I. Perry , Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH
Kimberly Wallin , University of Vermont and USDA Forest Service, Burlington, VT
Daniel A. Herms , Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH
Traits of species, such as dispersal ability of ground-dwelling invertebrates, influence their response to forest disturbance.  The objective of this study was to quantify dispersal of forest floor invertebrates in response to a factorial combination of two disturbance treatments:  canopy gap formation and understory vegetation removal.  Invertebrate dispersal was quantified using a mark-capture technique where fluorescent powder was applied to the forest floor in three concentric bands differing in distance from plot center.   Powder was detected on 18% of invertebrates collected, suggesting limited dispersal of most individuals.  Only 1% crossed two bands, and these were dominated by active hunters such as harvestmen and ground beetles.  A greater proportion of harvestmen crossed two bands when vegetation was undisturbed, while more spiders crossed one band in canopy gaps.  Low dispersal may slow recolonization of ground-dwelling invertebrates following disturbance, thereby affecting community structure and ecosystem services.