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Kirk Larsen

Luther College
Beetles, Prairie and Fire: ‘Call 911?’ or ‘Burn Baby Burn!
Tallgrass prairie was once the dominant ecosystem in Iowa and throughout much of the Upper Midwest, but is now easily the most endangered ecosystem in North America due to fragmentation and habitat conversion. Two primary processes important in the maintenance of tallgrass prairie are grazing and fire. This talk will review the role of fire in tallgrass prairie ecology, and review the impact fire has on insects, part of the biodiversity that makes up the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Using ground beetles as ecological indicators and evaluating their responses to fire, we propose management strategies for tallgrass prairie preserves that will help maximize the biodiversity needed to conserve these endangered ecosystems.
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