Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Mark Brunell

First Committee Member

Zachary Stahlschmidt

Second Committee Member

Ryan Hill


The growing human population results in growing demand for land allocated to urban development and agricultural production (Godfray et al. 2010; Tilman et al. 2011; McDonnell and Hahs 2013; Alexander et al. 2015; Erlwein and Pauleit 2021). Changes to land allocation associated with agricultural and urban development will increasingly alter terrestrial ecosystems impacting biodiversity (Ricketts et al. 2001; McDonald et al. 2008). Ants are an ideal organism for monitoring changes in biodiversity related to land-use change due to their ubiquitous nature, high diversity, and their role as bioindicators. The goal of this study was to assess the diversity of the ant communities related to land-use change in the Central Valley, California addressing what factors may influence variability in the diversity of the ant communities. The results of this study showed that Native taxa richness was highest in the natural sites and invasive taxa richness was highest in the urban sites. Temperature was not a major driver of changes in the diversity of the ant communities and an extended sampling period may provide more information seasonal effects on the ant communities. Sample method had the most impact on the estimated diversity metrics suggesting a multimethod approach is necessary to accurately characterize biodiversity. Pitfall trapping yielded the highest estimates of diversity due to the extended sampling period allowing for the collection of ants with different activity times. High variability among sample sites was observed in this study. Therefore, a larger sample size is recommended for future studies attempting to document the diversity of the ant communities in the Central Valley related to land-use change.



Included in

Biology Commons



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