Leaf beetle collection data from five Kentucky State Nature Preserves are summarized over a four-year period (2005 to 2008) encompassing a total of 57 collection events. Our primary objective was to survey leaf beetle populations found within the five preserves. We also wanted to assess impacts of prescribed fire management within these habitats on leaf beetles. We used means ANOVA procedures, species richness estimators, NMS ordinations, and contingency tables analyses. There were clear differences between the five preserves, with Raymond Athey State Nature Preserve (Logan Co.) being the most diverse (87 species) and having the greatest number of rare species (30). Ordination analyses revealed very minimal impacts of prescribed burns on leaf beetle composition in the four preserves where it is used as a management practice. Overall, leaf beetle composition appeared linked with Nature Preserves sampling/management units across years, overriding any year to year differences due to weather or other influences. The only significant year to year difference within a preserve occurred at Blue Licks State Park Nature Preserve, which had a lower number of beetles in 2007, possibly due to drought that summer. In total, we found 143 species, with 9 species unique to only one preserve (four of the five preserves contained unique species). These results demonstrate the importance of protected areas such as state nature preserves as refugia not only for known threatened or endangered plants and animals, but also for associated biota in little-studied groups, such as leaf beetles.
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