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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: The Role of Biotic Complexity and Landscape Context in Controlling Arthropod Pests in Ornamental Gardens

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AUTHORS: Gisele Nighswander, Basil Iannone, Adam Dale – University of Florida

ABSTRACT: Land conversion into exurban, or residential, developments has been the largest form of land-use change in the United States. This land conversion has resulted in the loss of ecosystem services once provided by these areas, including habitat, food sources, enhanced biodiversity and potentially even bottom-up and top-down pest regulation. Fortunately, there has been increased interests in understanding the ecology of these growing exurban areas, as well as how to mitigate aforementioned losses. "Designer ecosystems” have emerged as a potential solution to the mitigation of losses in ecosystem services and may even act to enhance biodiversity more urbanized landscapes. The purpose of this project is to generate knowledge on how to create designer ecosystems in exurban areas that provide important ecosystem services. We will focus specifically on the degree to which alpha and beta diversity, structural complexity, and landscape context (hereafter referred to as "biotic complexity") or ornamental gardens contribute to bottom-up and top-down regulation of herbivorous arthropod pests at both the local and landscape level. Because Florida has undergone some of the most intensive exurban development in the country, the study will be performed across numerous exurban developments within the state’s central region with the following objectives: (i) determine the degree to which biotic complexity of ornamental plantings affects herbivorous arthropod pest abundance and (ii) identify the mechanism by which biotic complexity of ornamental plantings affects arthropod pest abundance and (iii) determine the degree to which various components of landscape context of ornamental plantings affects the abundance of arthropod pests and predators and the interactions among them. Meeting these objectives will enable the design of more ecologically functioning landscapes, thus presenting potential benefits such as enhanced ecosystem services and reduced pesticide use.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

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