As human activities continue to fragment natural habitats, the need grows to be able to quantify the impacts of isolation and subdivision on individual mobility and on dynamics of natural populations. We propose to use the forked fungus beetle, Bolitotherus cornutus, which completes its entire lifecycle on a few species of shelf fungi, as a study system for addressing questions related to the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on natural populations. Because of the inherent patchiness of its habitat in wooded regions of the eastern United States, forked fungus beetles and their fungal hosts are an ideal system for studying how host quality, host presence, and spatial arrangement of hosts in a wooded landscape effect the dynamics of populations as well as the persistence of the species. We propose to study the movement of individual beetles via capture mark recapture techniques to better understand how dispersal in patchy landscapes impacts population dynamics. We also propose to study how local and regional population dynamics of the beetle change when only one of its hosts is present versus when multiple hosts are present. We will use empirical techniques, including the CMR study and behavioral studies of host choice, combined with spatially explicit population models to better understand how habitat heterogeneity (presence of multiple hosts) and geometry (their arrangement of patches in the landscape) impact population persistence.
|Effective start/end date
|6/1/04 → 11/30/06
- National Science Foundation: $4,632.00