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Wednesday, January 27 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Animal Community Structure Along A Midwest Grassland-Forest Gradient: Comparison Among Vertebrate and Insect Taxa

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AUTHORS: Ralph Grundel*, US Geological Survey; Noel Pavlovic, US Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Components of Midwest terrestrial landscapes range from grasslands to forests. Although this represents an historic gradient varying in woody vegetation density, land use practices have frequently converted stages along this gradient to other habitat types. Management often intends to restore landscapes to historic habitat compositions based on changing woody vegetation density. Understanding how such vegetation changes affect animal community composition can improve our ability to place value on reestablishment of certain habitat types. We compare the ways in which changes in woody vegetation density along the historic habitat continuum correspond to changes in animal communities. We examine the degree of obligation of butterfly species to different habitats and compare how obligation of butterfly species compares to obligation of other animal species including birds and herpetofauna. We also compare how the elements of habitat structure that best predict community composition differ among those animal groups as a means of understanding the key components of habitat structure for animal communities along the grassland-forest continuum.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 1:40pm - 2:00pm EST