Extensive ash mortality caused by the non-native emerald ash borer alters canopy structure and creates inputs of coarse woody debris as dead and dying ash fall to the forest floor; this affects habitat heterogeneity; resource availability; and exposure to predation and parasitism. As EAB-induced (emerald ash borer-induced) disturbance progresses the native arthropod associates of these forests may be irreversibly altered through loss of habitat; changing abiotic conditions and altered trophic interactions. We documented coleopteran communities associated with EAB-disturbed forests in a one-year study to evaluate the nature of these changes. Arthropods were collected via ethanol-baited traps on five sites with varying levels of EAB-induced ash mortality from May to September; captured beetles were identified to the family level and assigned to feeding guilds (herbivore; fungivore; xylophage; saprophage; predator; or parasite). Over 11,700 Coleoptera were identified in 57 families. In spite of their abundance; herbivores comprised a relatively small portion of coleopteran family richness (8 of 57 families). Conversely, coleopteran fungivore richness was high (23 families), and fungivore abundance was low. Herbivores and fungivores were more abundant at sites where ash decline was most evident. The predatory Trogossitidae and Cleridae were positively correlated with ash decline, suggesting a positive numerical response to the increased prey base associated with EAB invasion. Ash forests are changing, and a deeper understanding of arthropod community responses will facilitate restoration.
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This work is supported by the Kentucky Division of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service through a Landscape Scale Restoration Grant, and by McIntire Stennis Funds under 2351197000.
This is publication number 17-08-120 of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station paper and is published with the approval of the Director.
Savage, Matthew B. and Rieske, Lynne K., "Coleopteran Communities Associated with Forests Invaded by Emerald Ash Borer" (2018). Entomology Faculty Publications. 167.