SACAD: John Heinrichs Scholarly and Creative Activity Days


Ordinal-level Biomass of Insects Collected On and Off Prairie Dog Colonies

Colby Cook, Chad Zerr, and Lorelei Patrick

Recent work has shown that bats in Colorado and Kansas are more active over prairie dog colonies. It is hypothesized that the reason for this is increased abundance and richness of insects found on colonies versus off colonies. Sampling from 2022 indicated that insect biomass was not different between location types, but suggested that the relative abundance of insect orders may differ. Additional insect sampling was conducted in 2023. Light traps were deployed on the same nights, one on a prairie dog colony and one in adjacent, non-colony habitat. Insects were preserved and stored in ethanol. To measure overall biomass, the samples were drained in a sieve until the drip rate of the ethanol was greater than 10 seconds. Insects were then back into ethanol prior to being sorted into Orders, then dried and weighed again. Both total biomass and ordinal biomass were corrected for the number of hours the light traps were deployed on a given night. The results from this research will allow us to better understand the biodiversity associated with prairie dog colonies and why bats are more active over colonies.

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Lorelei Patrick



Submission Type

in-person poster




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