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Data for: Effects of fire on ground-dwelling arthropods in a shrub-dominated grassland

Citation

Wilder, Shawn; Butler, Anna (2021), Data for: Effects of fire on ground-dwelling arthropods in a shrub-dominated grassland, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.z612jm69w

Abstract

Arthropods are abundant and diverse animals in many terrestrial food webs. In western Oklahoma, some shrublands are interspersed with discrete, dense thickets of tall, woody vegetation, known as mottes. Some of these shrublands are managed with prescribed burning. The goal of this study was to examine if prescribed burning interacted with habitat type (i.e., shrubland vs. mottes) to affect ground-dwelling arthropod communities. Arthropods were collected in pitfall traps at four sampling locations in relation to mottes; in the center of mottes, and three plot location in shrublands; 1m, 15m, and 50m away from the edge of the motte. There were three treatment levels for burning: one-year post burn (burned in dormant months of 2017), two-years post burn (burned in dormant months of 2016), and unburned (burned in dormant season of 2014 and prior). There were no significant interactions between prescribed burning and habitat type. Mottes had a different community of arthropods compared to the surrounding shrubland. Mottes also had lower overall abundance, but a higher diversity of arthropods. In terms of fires, arthropod communities one year after burning were different from those two or more years after burning. There was no effect of burning on overall arthropod abundance, but plots that were one year since burning had significantly lower diversity compared to plots that were two or more years post-burn. The results of this study suggest that both fire and mottes can independently facilitate heterogeneity in arthropod communities, but they do not appear to interact with one another. 

Funding

Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Award: F18AF00110