An Assessment of Odonata Abundance and Impacts from Urbanization in La Crosse County, WI
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Knowledge of the relationships between urbanization and the ecology and distribution of odonates enhances our ability to effectively assess conditions of aquatic ecosystems and nearby terrestrial habitats. With this project, the terrestrial adult odonata populations and species dynamics between urban and nonurban river habitats of La Crosse County, WI were assessed using data received by the Wisconsin Odonata Survey. Using the counts of odonates by species from 2009 to 2015, calculations for general odonate abundance as well as species abundance were generated. It was expected that nonurban habitats would yield both more overall numbers of odonates as well as a more species, though the results showed little difference between the two types of locations. There were on average about 1 more individual odonates counted in urban locations. However, a t-test of these means yielded the data to not be considered statistically different (p-value 0.06). There was also little change in species counts for urban habitats, but there was a spike in counts of nonurban locations from 2009 – 2012, where there were 16 counted in 2009 up to 38 in 2012. Though the r-squared values of the corresponding trendlines suggest a low goodness of fit (< 0.001 and 0.27 for nonurban and urban locations), the low values were to be expected, given the variability of the data in terms of how uneven the counts were performed. The data itself was not gathered with regard to a study, as it has been the culmination of citizen scientists recording their own findings as they visited locations. The low values could reflect the bias toward sampling done for the survey, where the surveyor frequented more urban locations. Despite this, research done with regard to adult odonate ecology and 3 distribution is helping to broaden the lacking knowledge we currently have with regard to odonate population ecology, as well as increase our knowledge of the effects on urbanization on populations and habitats.