Transitional areas between ecosystems, called ecotones, are areas of biotic and abiotic change leading to differences in plant communities and soil conditions. Insect communities using surrounding plants and soil are likely to be structured by these resources. However, flying insects have unique advantages for avoiding obstacles giving them a large potential range to gather resources. As a result, flying insect communities should not be structured by surrounding plant communities or abiotic factors. We conducted a survey of the flying insect communities to compare with existing tree and soil surveys. This study was conducted in Jennings Woods, a temperate hardwood forest in Northeast Ohio comprised of riparian, upland, and bottomland forests separated by elevational gradients and soil parameters. We used baited traps to collect flying insects during 4 separate collection time periods and sight-identified to lowest practical taxonomic level. As expected, the flying insect community was not structured by the tree community nor the soil. However, community structure was significantly related to ecosystem type. We found that Shannon’s diversity and taxonomic richness were significantly different between ecosystems and dates. Taxonomic richness was highest in fall sampling dates while diversity was highest in spring and summer sampling dates. In addition, we did not find a significant change in community structure near the ecotones specifically. This suggests that edge effects do not play a critical role in structuring flying insect communities and that ecosystem and time differences structure flying insect communities, but communities are not limited by the surrounding soil or tree communities.
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