Resource Partitioning Among Regionally Co-occurring Notonecta Species (Notonectidae: Hemiptera)

Noor Soboh
Wayne State University
Noor Soboh attends Wayne State University (WSU) and is a member of the Community of Scholars (CoS) and American Institution of Professional Geologists (AIPG). She is currently a student assistant and Webmaster in the geology department where she is completing a dual major in Environmental Science and Geology. Her aptitude for science coupled with her interest in research has led her to excel in her studies, completing one independent research project (Resource Partitioning Among Regionally Co-occurring Notonecta Species) while continuing to work on another (Investigating the Temporal Variations of Short-lived Radon Emanation Rates and Their Short-Lived Radioactive Isotopic Progenies in Detroit Air) which she hopes to complete prior to graduation. Soboh spent the Winter 2015 semester abroad in Beirut, Lebanon where she studied the Arabic language. From May 2015 to August 2015 she held a summer research position at Kellogg Biological Station in affiliation with Michigan State University. She is enthusiastic about her field and hopes to become an accomplished geoscientist. Soboh is especially interested in planetary geology and physical science, aspiring to someday work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
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Additional Contributors: Mitra Asgari Special Thanks: Christopher Frazier, Dixxon Darlington, Dr. Christopher Steiner
Studies show that the back-swimming bugs Notonecta undulata and irrorata commonly co-occur in fishless ponds. To understand their food selectivity and possibility of resource partitioning or resource overlap between these two predatory aquatic insects, small-scale laboratory experiments were performed using a mixture of common pond cladoceran species. These laboratory experiments suggest that Notonecta undulate and irrorata are size-selective in terms of choosing prey and serve as co-existing competitors for resources in their respective ecological environments. Our results show that both notonectid species have preference for larger-sized prey, Daphnia pulex, over smaller-sized prey. The preference for larger-sized prey was not significantly different when comparing the two species. This suggests the possibility of resource overlap rather than partitioning when zooplankton acts as the only available food source. While our findings present the possibility of strong resource competition among these two notonectid species, other factors like habitat complexity, abiotic factors, source-sink dynamics and the presence of alternative prey may explain patterns of co-occurrence in natural ponds.
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