Fire Ecology of Insect Populations
Mentor:Martin Ramirez, Professor of Biology, Loyola Marymount University
The Two Harbors fire on Santa Catalina Island burned approximately 20 acres in May 2011. The fire occurred such that half a hillside was burned and the other half was left untouched by the fire. This provides the perfect set-up for a comparison of disturbed and undisturbed habitat. Insect populations in both the burned and unburned areas have been monitored since June 2011. Aerial insect populations have been sampled using non-toxic sticky paper stuck on four-sided posts oriented towards the four cardinal directions. Samples were taken for 24 hour periods once every four months. There were significantly more insects collected in June than in any other month and significantly fewer insects collected in January than any other month. Significant differences between the burned and unburned populations have not been found. This project is ongoing and data is still being collected to monitor patterns as the burned site continues to recover.