Bottom-up and top-down effects on insects herbivores along a natural salinity gradient in a florida salt marsh

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Albarracin, Maria Teresa
Gall makers; Sap suckers; Borrichia frutescens; Fertilizer; Sticky traps; Parasitoids; Herbivory
thesis / dissertation description
I compared the strength of bottom- up and top-down effects on insect herbivores along a natural salinity gradient in salt marsh communities in West - Central, Florida. I used a 2x2 factorial design with plots divided into four different treatments: 1) fertilizer applied to increase plant quality 2) sticky traps added to remove natural enemies (parasitoids) 3) fertilizer applied and sticky traps added and 4) control plots. These plots were placed on 7 different sites containing the salt marsh plant Borrichia frutescens along a natural stress salinity gradient. In each plot I determined the abundance of the sap sucker Pissonotus quadripustulatus, the gall maker Asphondylia borrichiae, spiders and the number of chewed leaves and bored stems. I also recorded leaf area, plant density, plant height and foliar nitrogen. Plants in fertilized plots exhibited increased height, density and leaf area.