A Comparison of the Effects of Forest Matrix Habitat on the Dispersal of Two Species of Butterflies
Kenny I. Kim
Dr. Michael I. Kelrick and Dr. Steve F. Matter (University of Cincinnati), Faculty Mentors
Rising tree-line is fragmenting alpine meadows throughout the Rocky Mountains. Previous research on the butterfly, Parnassius smintheus, at Jumping Pound Ridge in Alberta showed that they avoided forest and flew shorter distances within forest than within meadows. It is unclear if this is a general response to forest by meadow-inhabiting species. We examined how Pontia occidentalis is affected by this type of fragmentation. We experimentally examined edge effects and movement patterns of P. occidentalis in meadow and forest matrix habitats, following butterflies released at 5 or 20m from a forest edge, in either forest or meadow habitat. We compared number of flights and mean distance moved for each distance and habitat. Our data analysis evaluates P. occidentalis’ responses to habitats and forest edge. Field observations indicate that butterflies’ movements aren’t affected by the forest edge and habitats. Thus, responses to landscape structure are likely to be species-specific, making generalizations difficult.
Keywords: Pontia, occidentalis, Parnassius , smintheus, edge avoidance, dispersal, fragmentation, Rocky Mountains
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Location: VH 1412