Craddock, J. Hill; Beasley, DeAnna
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Insects are an essential part of the function of ecosystems. The majority of entomological faunistic research has been conducted primarily in rural areas due to high diversity, space for bulky traps, and less outside influence from human activities. However, the need for time-series insect biodiversity data, in rural areas and urban areas alike, is paramount in the wake of our current sixth mass extinction event. Previous research has shown that the greater Chattanooga area is comprised of a diverse population of insects in the Coleoptera (beetles) order, and as shown in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s (UTC) Insect Collection. However, no systematic collection has been done in urban areas within the city limits of Chattanooga. Therefore, in order to fill this gap in data, using a Malaise trap, I collected six months (from March to September of 2022) worth of Coleoptera specimens in the urban garden situated in front of Holt Hall on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s campus (35°02'50.4"N, 85°17'46.7"W). This project yielded 352 individuals, with 63 morphospecies identified in 23 families (Appendix I). Out of the 23 families sampled, the families that had the highest frequency during the entire collection period included Coccinellidae (22), Staphylinidae (13), and Mordellidae (12). Ecological factors including the diets of the beetles collected and the plant composition of the garden during each collection month were used to predict why specific families were more prevalent than others. Without establishing this baseline data, researchers will have a difficult time estimating any changes in or demonstrating progress, recovery, or destruction of Coleoptera populations in the future. The beneficial nature of this study’s findings can be maximized through the yearly repetition of Coleoptera collection at this site. Further, expanding this study across more urban green spaces within Chattanooga (and Hamilton County) can give us a greater understanding of what beetles Chattanooga supports, and how time and the continuation of harmful anthropogenic activities are affecting Coleoptera populations.
There are many individuals I would like to thank for their support in completing this project. Firstly, a huge thank you to Dr. Chatzimanolis for his endless hours of helping me sort and identify insects, revising my written work, and advising me during our weekly meetings. I cannot express how thankful I am for his continual guidance, encouragement, and sharing of knowledge during this process. I would also like to thank Dr. Beasley and Dr. Craddock for being on my committee and providing valuable insights and suggestions on how I should analyze my data and improve my project as a whole. Lastly, I would like to extend a thank you to Dr. Barbosa for allowing me to place my Malaise trap in his garden for an extended period of time and giving me ecological data about the space to support my research.
B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.
Beetles--Collection and preservation--Tennessee--Chattanooga
Anderson, Mallory, "Species diversity of Coleoptera populations in an urban garden in Chattanooga, Tennessee" (2023). Honors Theses.