Internship Program Reports

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An independent study project report by The Hay Honey Farm Endowed Natural Lands Intern (2017-2018)


Green roofs are becoming increasingly popular in cities around the globe because of their numerous benefits to humans. Green roofs can also benefit wildlife, particularly insects, through the creation of habitat. The goal of this study was to evaluate the biodiversity of the insect community on the Morris Arboretum intensive green roof and to identify management strategies to promote more diversity. We vacuum sampled the green roof three times in August and September 2017. Insects in the orders Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Neuroptera, and Mantodea were sorted, preserved, and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic rank. Overall, 891 insects were collected and identified. Two groups, ants and aphids, accounted for 566 of those insects. There was low diversity and abundance of Coleoptera and Lepidoptera, which could be attributed to the lack of fall-flowering plants, larval host plants, and overwintering sites. Additionally, there was low diversity of pollinator species, which may also be attributed to the lack of fall-flowering plants. In order to promote these groups, I suggest adding plants that provide high-quality pollen and nectar resources in the late summer and fall, as well as adding woody debris to provide habitat and overwintering sites. I also suggest maintaining open areas to provide habitat for ground-nesting insects. If these management suggestions are implemented, the increased diversity of habitat and resources will foster more diversity in the insect community.


Biodiversity | Horticulture



Date Posted: 08 October 2018