Urbanization effects on leaf mining densities and leaf damage of white oak (Quercus alba) in Guilford County, North Carolina

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Douglas Lawton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Stanley Faeth

Abstract: The urban habitat is the fastest growing ecosystem on Earth. Some organisms may respond to urbanization negatively by becoming locally extinct, while others respond positively and increase in numbers or densities. Leaf miners are insects whose larvae eat and live inside the leaves of plants until they pupate and emerge as adults. White Oak (Quercus alba) trees are common hardwood trees in Guilford County, and are well known hosts of leaf miners. In this study, the effects of urbanization on leaf miners and leaf damage by other herbivorous insects on white oak trees was examined. Six urban and rural parks were selected for investigation. In each park, three trees were selected and 50 leaves were picked at random for analysis. I hypothesized that leaf damage will be lower and leaf miner density will be higher in urban than rural areas. Leaf damage was significantly lower in urban areas than rural areas. Leaf miner abundance was lower in urban areas, but not significantly so. The mechanisms for lower leaf damage and possibly lower leaf miner densities in urban areas should be examined more in detail. The different type of leaf damage (e.g., chewers, skeletonizers, sap feeders, etc.) should also be investigated to test if urbanization differently affects insect feeding guilds.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Language: English
Date: 2015
Folivorous Insects, Urban Ecology, Forest Fragments

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