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Hoverfly communities in agricultural landscapes: a comparative study between habitat types

Anthony, Laura (2016) BIOK01 20161
Degree Projects in Biology
Popular Abstract
The worlds’ human population is continuously growing, and meeting the increased demand for food requires an increase of agricultural production. Agricultural ecosystems are of great importance for humans in terms of delivering provisioning ecosystem services, such as the production of food. The term ecosystem service is a function provided by natural environments, that are beneficial for humans. An increase of agricultural production is however harmful for the natural environment, for example the conversion of natural- and semi natural areas (such as hedges, field margins and ponds) into crop fields, which threatens the diversity of a large variety of organisms that use these areas as habitat. These organisms are useful for us in terms of... (More)
The worlds’ human population is continuously growing, and meeting the increased demand for food requires an increase of agricultural production. Agricultural ecosystems are of great importance for humans in terms of delivering provisioning ecosystem services, such as the production of food. The term ecosystem service is a function provided by natural environments, that are beneficial for humans. An increase of agricultural production is however harmful for the natural environment, for example the conversion of natural- and semi natural areas (such as hedges, field margins and ponds) into crop fields, which threatens the diversity of a large variety of organisms that use these areas as habitat. These organisms are useful for us in terms of providing ecosystem services, an example being insects that carry out a pollinating service and are crucial for maintaining a reliable crop production. The most commonly known pollinating insect is the honey bee, but there are other insects that also carry out this service, one example being the hoverfly. Different species of hoverflies thrive in different types of habitats, one being wetlands such as ponds, where some hoverflies have aquatic life stages. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of how hoverflies are affected by changes in land use within the agricultural landscape, more specifically whether ponds in the agricultural landscape enhance the abundance of hoverflies compared to areas with semi-natural vegetation. If they do, then the argument for conserving ponds within agricultural landscapes will be strengthened. Already collected samples of hoverflies from different habitat types were identified to species level and compared between the habitat types, the main comparison being between pond habitats and habitats of semi-natural vegetation. The results showed a higher diversity of hoverfly species, and also a tendency towards a higher abundance of hoverflies in pond habitats compared to areas with semi-natural vegetation. With ponds containing both aquatic plant species and species found in terrestrial habitats, these habitats may contain a wider range of plant species than habitats lacking a wetland area. Taking this information into account, and the fact that some hoverfly species depend on a water body for a part of their life cycle, it is possible that the presence of a pond can increase the abundance of hoverfly species, which in turn could lead to an increased pollination service. However, further studies need to be carried out in order to provide significant results stating that ponds in fact do enhance the abundance of hoverflies.

Supervisor: Rebecca Stewart
Bachelor's Degree Project 15 credits, 2016
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Anthony, Laura
supervisor
organization
course
BIOK01 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
language
English
id
8894628
date added to LUP
2016-11-04 11:37:05
date last changed
2016-11-04 11:37:05
@misc{8894628,
  author       = {Anthony, Laura},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Hoverfly communities in agricultural landscapes: a comparative study between habitat types},
  year         = {2016},
}