Title: Ground Beetle Communities within KBS LTER Prairie Strips and Surrounding Row Crop

Cynthia Fiser, Doug Landis

Presented at the All Scientist Meeting and Investigators Field Tour (2021-09-23 to 2021-09-23 )

Perennial prairie strips were introduced as a conservation technique in agricultural landscapes to reduce soil erosion and soil nutrient runoff, sequester soil carbon, and support biodiversity. Initial studies in Iowa described the ecosystem services provided by prairie strips; however, their impact in Michigan’s diverse agricultural landscape is largely unknown. We studied the impact of prairie strip establishment on ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) communities which can provide pest suppression services.

Prairie strips were planted in the fall of 2018 in two treatments (T3 = reduced chemical input, and T4 = biologically based). Strips were placed in the center of each plot (n=6 reps/treatment) and surrounded by rotated row crops (2019 wheat, 2020 corn, 2021 soybean). To sample ground beetles, pitfall traps were deployed in four transects perpendicular to the strip at distances of 0 (in the strip), 1, 5, and 20 m into the surrounding crop during three sampling bouts per summer in 2019-2021. Carabid identity and abundance data are currently available for 2019 representing the initial communities that established in the strips and adjacent crops. In total, we collected 456 ground beetles representing 34 species and 19 genera. Two species of weed seed feeders, Harpalus compar and Harpalus pennsylvanicus were particularly abundant, as were arthropod predators in the genera Cicindela and Pterostichus. NMDS analysis showed that communities differ between T3 and T4.

In the future, we will determine if early-season colonization of crops and pest suppression services are facilitated by the presence of prairie strips and how carabid communities and pest suppression compare to treatments without strips.

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