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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Compiling and analyzing historical insect data for Plummers Island, Maryland

item Brown, John
item Bahr, Stephen

Submitted to: Experiment Station Bulletins
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2005
Publication Date: 6/15/2006
Citation: Brown, J.W., Bahr, S.M. 2006. Compiling and analyzing historical insect data for Plummers Island, Maryland. Experiment Station Bulletins. 1-35.

Interpretive Summary: This report presents the findings of a prelimiary specimen- and literature-based investigation of the insect fauna of Plummers Island, Maryland, a small section of an extensive linear National Park that parallels the Potomac River. The investigation was funded by the National Park Service. The report is primarily an inventory of species, and may be of value in identifying appropriate management activities for the site and related or similar habitats.

Technical Abstract: Initially maintained by the Washington Biologists' Field Club as a research station (ca. 1901-1958), Plummers Island, Maryland, a small site located along the northern edge of the Potomac River, currently is under the ownership and management of the U.S. National Park Service. Based on an examination of the insect collection of the U.S. National Museum of Natural History (USNM), Smithsonian Institution, and a review of relevant literature, we documented from the site 2,769 insect species in 194 families, encompassing 13 insect orders (Odonata, Dermaptera, Psocoptera, Thysanoptera, Hemiptera, Mecoptera, Neuroptera, Megaloptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Trichoptera, Lepidoptera, and Hymenoptera). Approximately 25,400 insect specimens were databased and bar-coded. Where insect families are represented by historical and current data, we conducted preliminary analyses of species turnover using 25-year increments (i.e., 1900-1925, 1926-1950, 1951-1975, 1976-present). Most insect groups for which there are historical and recent records show considerable turnover since 1900 - most families have fewer species present now. Because Plummers Island has been subject to limited management activities, these findings may shed light on the types of changes that may be expected in the insect fauna in response to natural succession and other forms of passive land management.

Last Modified: 07/25/2017
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