Black maple trees and arthropods

Does the diversity and community structure of arthropods vary by vertical stratification and tree type?
– Dr. Christopher Buddle, McGill University

Biodiversity conservation depends on deep knowledge about the smaller and hyper-diverse animals in the world, including insects and spiders. Research on spiders and insects occurring in tree canopies in southern Quebec has shown some differences between tree species, and also distinct differences between the understory and the tree canopies. Given the interesting history of the Kenauk forest region, and the uniqueness of some tree species such as black maple trees, this will prove itself as an interesting and important pilot research project. This research is a biodiversity assessment in the canopy and understory of three tree species found in Kenauk, with Black and Sugar Maple being two of the focal species and Basswood acting as a control. For arthropods, canopies will be sampled with ‘beating’ the foliage, and with permanent Lindgren funnels. Samples will be paired with the same methods in the understory to make a proper comparison of the canopy to the understory. These data will attempt to answer whether or not the diversity and community structure of arthropod varies by vertical stratification and tree type. Additionally, the biodiversity of birds will be assessed during the active season, using point calls, determining if diversity varies by forest type and time of year. Understory herbaceous vegetation will also be studied using quadrat sampling to determine how vegetation diversity varies depending on overstory tree composition. By the end of the pilot project, the diversity of three very different groups (herbaceous plants, arthropods and birds) will be assessed. These data will be invaluable when considering additional long-term ecological monitoring at Kenauk.