Effects of prescribed fire and social insects on saproxylic beetles in a subtropical forest

Abstract

We tested the immediate and delayed effects of a low-intensity prescribed fire on beetles, ants and termites inhabiting log sections cut from moderately decomposed pine trees in the southeastern United States. We also explored co-occurrence patterns among these insects. Half the logs were placed at a site scheduled for a prescribed fire while the rest were assigned to a neighboring site not scheduled to be burned. We then collected insects emerging from sets of logs collected immediately after the fire as well as after 2, 6, 26 and 52 weeks. The fire had little effect on the number of beetles and ants collected although beetle richness was significantly higher in burned logs two weeks after the fire. Both beetle and ant communities differed between treatments, however, with some species preferring either burned or unburned logs. We found no evidence that subterranean termites (Reticulitermes) were influenced by the fire. Based on co-occurrence analysis, positive associations among insect species were over two times more common than negative associations. This difference was significant overall as well for ant × beetle and beetle × beetle associations. Relatively few significant positive or negative associations were detected between termites and the other insect taxa, however

  • Citation: Ulyshen, Michael D.; Lucky, Andrea; Work, Timothy T. 2020. Effects of prescribed fire and social insects on saproxylic beetles in a subtropical forest. Scientific Reports. 10(1): 1-. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66752-w.
  • Posted Date: June 30, 2020
  • Modified Date: June 30, 2020
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