Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


Biodiversity is important for maintaining ecosystem function, including the adaptation of the organisms to reflect the change in the ecological community. Many ecological roles are performed by insects, including keystone organisms, ecosystem engineers and soil modifiers, part of the food chain, general symbionts, and pollinators, and creating a cumulative database of the variety of insect types allows for an effective overview of the different aspects of the environment from which samples are collected. With approximately 400,000 described species, beetles are immensely diverse in their lifestyles and ecological roles, thus making them valuable tools in environmental assessments of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. It also means that they provide a robust set of data for metrics of biodiversity. This preliminary study focuses on ground beetles, which are important as bioindicators of habitat conditions and ecosystem heterogeneity, in Rowan County, Eastern Kentucky across three locations. Methods of quantitatively collecting samples include light traps, pitfall traps, leaf sifting, and pan traps. The primary method used in this study was leaf sifting and Berlese funnel, which is used to extract small insects and arthropods from leaf litter and other debris. Collected data are often analyzed using statistical analysis (ANOVA) that emphasizes the abundance of individuals, functional analysis that explores the diversity of different functional groups, or through various indices, including the Simpson and Shannon indices, that measure the richness and abundance of species.