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Biodiversity is an important metric used for conservation efforts and ecological assessments. Biodiversity is defined as the measure of taxonomic diversity within an area. Several groups of organisms have been used as surrogates to assess overall biodiversity for an area, for example plants, mammals, birds, beetles, etc. Ants represent another surrogate taxon for assessing biodiversity because ants are found in many types of habitats, fulfill a variety of ecological roles, are diverse, and are numerous. Leaf-litter samples were collected from three wooded sites in Rowan County: Eagle Lake, Stoney Cove, and Rodburn Hollow between the months of August and October in both 2019 and 2020. Ants were extracted from the leaf-litter using Berlese funnels which are used to extract arthropods from soil. The ant specimens were organized, identified, counted, and labeled to analyze the biodiversity among the different ant habitats collected. A total of 6,225 ants, and 15 genera were collected across the samples. Additionally, there are several useful indices for ant alpha and beta diversity evaluation including, Shannon and Simpson indices. The Shannon index is used to find diversity of a species or genera within a certain environment. The Simpson index is used to find proportional abundance within a given area. Alpha diversity is the diversity at one site and beta diversity is the difference in diversities between sites. The values calculated from these indices can be used to assess ant biodiversity within Rowan County.
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Schifano, Amber; Ehr, Anna Grace; Druen, Maiyuki; Lydeard, Charles; and O'Keefe, Sean, "Quantitative Sampling Of Ant Populations In Rowan County As A Measure Of Biodiversity In Rowan County Woodlands" (2021). 2021 Celebration of Student Scholarship - Poster Presentations. 3.
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