The Effects of Grazing (Bison and Elk) and Burning on Biodiversity of Hemiptera (Heteroptera; Homoptera: Auchenorrhyncha) at Prairie State Park, Missouri
Connacher, Brian S.
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Hemiptera are an important part of prairie ecosystems. The effects of cattle grazing have been examined with regards to plants and many groups of insects; however, the effects of bison and elk grazing have not been studied in depth with regards to the Auchenorrhyncha and Heteroptera. This study consisted of sampling randomized transects in grazed and ungrazed management units of varying burn regimes within Prairie State Park, Missouri, using two widely accepted methods of collection, sweep netting and vacuum sampling. It was evident that hemipteran density was higher in elk sites than bison sites, density was higher in sites burned in 2008 than more recent burns but species diversity and evenness were highest in sites burned in 2011. This study found that the impact of elk has a positive relationship with Hemiptera species richness; Hemiptera density increases as the time since the last burn increases, and species diversity and evenness decrease as time since burn increases; sites with a burn frequency of four burns per decade showed the highest species diversity.