Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Science


Biological Sciences


College of Natural & Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Jorista Garrie

Second Committee Member

Dr. Eric Lovely

Third Committee Member

Dr. Roger Perry

Fourth Committee Member

Matthew Anderson

Program Director

Dr. Thomas Nupp

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster


Insects are important in woodland ecosystems due to their role as pollinators and as prey for bats. My research investigated the relationships between forest management, vegetation, and insects in the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. I selected 30 stands burned at varying frequencies in the last 12 years. Twelve of these stands were burned and mechanically thinned, 12 were only burned, and 6 were untreated. I deployed blacklight traps and malaise traps in each stand monthly from mid-March to mid- November 2019. Over 42,391 insects were collected, and Lepidoptera was the most abundant order. Insects were dried, weighed, and identified for diversity metrics. I used multi-model selection and AICc to find the top models from a series of linear mixed effects models to determine the best forest management strategies for bat prey and the best vegetation habitat for pollinators. Total biomass of nocturnal, aerial insects was lower in thinned stands despite thinned stands having more ground vegetation. However, it is unclear if it is the removal of Lepidoptera tree hosts or changes to bat foraging activity that drove this relationship. Stands burned at high frequencies had a higher abundance of Coleoptera and more ground vegetation that is important insect habitat. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis is not a universal ecological rule and was not supported with regards to Lepidoptera diversity and burn frequency. However, more research needs to be done to determine if there is an intermediate tree density that balances the benefits to Lepidoptera bat-prey and Hymenoptera pollinators.