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The role of perennial hayfields in retaining predators




Grider, Amelia

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Biological Sciences

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The United States has seen significant native grassland loss, with over 99% decline due to land use conversion to agriculture and industrialization, leading to declines in organisms that utilize grasslands. This is concerning because grasslands harbor declining groups of arthropods and birds that may provide predation services within agricultural landscapes. First, I compare the biodiversity and predation in six Black Belt Prairie (BBP) fields and six managed perennial hayfields. Second, I compare the biodiversity and predation in perennial hayfields following ant suppression. The findings suggest that perennial hayfields may have the potential to support similar diversity and abundance of predators as well as similar levels of predation to restored BBP grasslands and that ants are important predators in hayfields. Future work will need to further explore if restored BBP are indeed similar to hayfields or if historical losses to diversity are the cause for the similarity of BBP to hayfields.