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Biodiversity is the measure of variability of interactions between living organisms within an area. Biodiversity contributes significantly to the production of different life sustaining resources and supports a diversity of ecological life. A greater biodiverse area can help maintain environmental balance and maintain ecological diversity and health. There are multiple economic, cultural, and scientific reasons as to why biodiversity is important. When assessing biodiversity, mammals and birds are commonly used as surrogates. The problem with mammals and birds is that there are relatively few species and relatively few individuals in an area, so quantitative assessment can be difficult. However, insects are extremely diverse, ubiquitous, and important components of ecosystems, which makes them effective surrogates to assess biodiversity. Few studies have used wasps to measure biodiversity. However, wasps can be an effective surrogate to assess biodiversity as they provide essential ecological roles such as pollination, pest regulation, and general insect population control. There are both positive and negative aspects of using wasps to assess biodiversity. Advantages include wide species diversity, host specificity, and specialist roles in their environment. Downsides include few resources on wasp identification and most wasps are minute, smaller than 3 mm, which make them difficult to identify. We collected wasps from leaf litter and yellow pan traps at several localities near Morehead Kentucky. So far, we have collected several thousand specimens. Most samples contain 30-70 species of wasps. We are still sorting and identifying wasps

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A Preliminary Survey on the Biodiversity of Wasps in Eastern Kentucky



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