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Monday, April 9 • 4:15pm - 4:30pm
INSECT ECOLOGY: Butterflies, Tallgrass Prairie, and Green Roofs

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AUTHORS: Pamela Blackmore*, Jeff Taylor, Lee Skabelund, Dr. Dave Haukos, Dr. Brent Chamberlain – Kansas State University

ABSTRACT: As pollinators are decreasing across the United States, it is becoming more important to understand how the trend can be reversed. Cities, which have typically destroyed and fragmented pollinator habitat, may be able to utilize roof tops for the benefit of pollinators. The Memorial Stadium Green Roofs at Kansas State University are rooftops previously used as stadium seating, portions of which have recently been covered with native prairie vegetation. This study, initiated in the spring of 2017, evaluates the effectiveness of these created green roofs to provide pollinator habitat in an urban context by comparing butterfly communities of the green roofs to those in urban native prairie (Warner Park, Manhattan) and protected tallgrass prairie (Konza Prairie Biological Station, an NSF LTER site). It also looks at how on-site vegetation composition influences butterfly species richness, distribution, and abundance. Methods employed include a modified Pollard walk, plant composition sampling, and mapping the spatial distribution of vegetation used by individual butterflies with a GPS unit. This presentation will provide methods used and first-year preliminary findings from what will be a two-year study. Initial findings suggest that butterflies can find and use green roofs in this urbanized area. However, while the green roofs support many species of butterflies including monarchs, sulphurs, painted ladies, and others, tallgrass prairie specialist species, such as the regal fritillary, have not been seen using the green roofs, yet have been present at the other sites. This study will give insights as to the potential for green roofs in urban areas to compensate for lost butterfly habitat and what variables may influence the butterflies present.

Monday April 9, 2018 4:15pm - 4:30pm CDT
LaSalle 2 (7th Floor)

Attendees (5)