Defense Date

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Derek Johnson

Abstract

Understanding movement capabilities of individuals within a landscape is essential to identifying the effects of habitat boundaries on species abundances, ranges, and spread rates. Movement barriers due to habitat fragmentation may reduce mate-finding ability in some species, particularly in heterogeneous landscapes containing low-density populations. This study focuses on the effects of habitat type and edge on mate-finding in an invasive defoliator, the European gypsy moth. Adult European gypsy moth males locate mates by following pheromones released by flightless females. Reduced mate-finding was expected in fields and near forest edges based on geographic variation in invasion rates and pheromone plume dynamics. A male release-recapture experiment using female-baited traps in fields, at forest edges, and in the forest interior showed that mate-finding was highest at forest edges, reduced in fields, and lowest within the forest interior. This suggests that forest edges and moderate habitat fragmentation enhance mate-finding in the gypsy moth.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

Included in

Biology Commons

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