Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Timothy A Mousseau

Abstract

In the face of climate change-related events and anthropogenic disturbances, understanding the impacts of these events on species richness, abundance and distribution is important for us to mitigate biodiversity loss and better predict consequences for the environment and for human life. Insects are excellent models for understanding the consequences of environmental stress due to the sensitivity of their development and behavior. The overall focus of my dissertation research is the investigation of fluctuating asymmetry and oviposition behavior as indicators of environmental stress. My research includes a meta-analysis of published literature, and empirical research that was part of a collaborative initiative on understanding the ongoing ecological consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the role of timber harvest activity on insect habitat selection. Finally, with the wider availability of Internet and GPS tracking technologies, my research investigated the relative efficacy of citizen science-based research methods on tracking a region-wide ecological event through collaboration with local research institutions. I will show that fluctuating asymmetry can serve as a reliable indicator of environmental stress and provide considerations for its application. I will also show how spatial distribution of citizen reports can relate to the ecological landscape and how changes in the landscape can impact insect behavior.

Share

COinS