AGRICULTURAL DRAINAGE DITCHES AS SOURCES OF BENEFICIAL SPIDERS TO ENHANCE CONSERVATION BIOCONTROL IN ADJACENT CROPLANDS
Kutz, Dylan James
Lamp, William O.
MetadataShow full item record
Agricultural drainage ditches are uncropped areas on farms located above high-water tables to assist in the hydrologic control of croplands. Drainage ditches have increasingly become the subject of research as sources of beneficial arthropods for agroecosystems. Spiders, the most common generalist predator in most field crops, are an important component of conservation biocontrol, but little is known of spider assemblages in drainage ditches or the extent they colonize adjacent croplands from these ditches. To better understand the composition and population dynamics of spider assemblages in drainage ditches, my objectives were (1) to assess the structure of spider assemblages inhabiting drainage ditches in Maryland and (2) to determine how spider assemblages in drainage ditches and adjacent soybean fields change throughout the soybean growth cycle. Overall, my work contributes to understanding how valuable drainage ditches are as habitats for natural enemies like spiders and how ditches influence spider assemblages in adjacent croplands.