Date of Award

Winter 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Wildlife

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

John A Litvaitis


Early-successional habitats are valuable to wildlife species and susceptible to invasive shrubs, possibly negatively affecting biodiversity of whole communities. Insects provide energy links between plants and wildlife, thus, change in insect communities due to invasive shrubs may have detrimental impacts on wildlife---especially nesting songbirds. I gauged how invasive shrubs affect insect abundance, richness, and phenology using flight-intercept trapping and beat/sweeping methods. Lepidopteran larvae were provided a choice to consume native or invasive shrub foliage. Invasive shrubs negatively affected communities with reduced insect abundance and richness on individual shrubs as well as the entire habitat. Lepidopteran larvae preferred native shrub foliage over invasive, and also displayed higher survival rates when consuming native shrub foliage. Insects are either unable or unwilling to consume invasive shrubs, meaning a reduction of food for insect consumers. Nesting songbirds may abandon early-successional habitats or have to expand their territory size in order to find food.