Journal Article

Indirect Effects of Emerald Ash Borer-Induced Ash Mortality and Canopy Gap Formation on Epigaeic Beetles

Kamal J. K. Gandhi, Annemarie Smith, Diane M. Hartzler and Daniel A. Herms

in Environmental Entomology

Volume 43, issue 3, pages 546-555
Published in print June 2014 | ISSN: 0046-225X
Published online December 2014 | e-ISSN: 1938-2936 | DOI:
Indirect Effects of Emerald Ash Borer-Induced Ash Mortality and Canopy Gap Formation on Epigaeic Beetles

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Exotic herbivorous insects have drastically and irreversibly altered forest structure and composition of North American forests. For example, emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) from Asia has caused wide-scale mortality of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) in eastern United States and Canada. We studied the effects of forest changes resulting from emerald ash borer invasion on epigaeic or ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) along a gradient of ash dieback and gap sizes in southeastern Michigan. Ground beetles were sampled in hydric, mesic, and xeric habitats in which black (Fraxinus nigra Marshall), green (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall), and white (Fraxinus americana L.) ash were the most common species, respectively. During 2006-2007, we trapped 2,545 adult ground beetles comprising 52 species. There was a negative correlation between percent ash tree mortality in 2006 and catches of all beetles. Catches of Agonum melanarium Dejean (in 2006) and Pterostichus mutus (Say) (in 2006-2007) were negatively correlated with tree mortality and gap size, respectively. However, catches of Pterostichus corvinus Dejean were positively correlated with gap size in 2006. As ash mortality and average gap size increased from 2006 to 2007, catches of all beetles as well as P. mutus and Pterostichus stygicus (Say) increased (1.3-3.9 times), while species diversity decreased, especially in mesic and xeric stands. Cluster analysis revealed that beetle assemblages in hydric and mesic stand diverged (25 and 40%, respectively) in their composition from 2006 to 2007, and that hydric stands had the most unique beetle assemblages. Overall, epigaeic beetle assemblages were altered in ash stands impacted by emerald ash borer; however, these impacts may dissipate as canopy gaps close.

Keywords: ash tree; canopy gap; emerald ash borer; exotic species; ground beetle

Journal Article.  6173 words.  Illustrated.

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