Moth Diversity of the Grand River Grasslands of South-central Iowa

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Crees, Logan
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Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.

Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

Moths play important roles in local ecosystems and many species have important economic impacts. Moths are some of the most diverse organisms on Earth, composing about 10% of all known species. Eastern North America alone is home to thousands of species. Though they are incredibly diverse, and have large economic impacts, there is still little knowledge regarding the geographic distribution or population size for most of these species. Iowa is one of most diverse states for moths as it is situated between several broad areas with regionally endemic species including: the North, the Northeast, the Plains, and the annual migration of species from the South. In this study lights were used to attract specimens that were photographed and released. Over two seasons, 316 species were encountered from six different locations in Ringgold and Decatur counties. Several species encountered in this research project represent species that had previously never been observed in Iowa.

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