Murray State University

Poster Title

The Effect of Temperature and Fungal Resistance on Termites, Nasutitermes acajutlae: Influences of Temperature and Resistance to a Pathogenic Fungus on Colony Growth and Individual Survival: STUDY 2 (Stringfield & Darling): Mathematically Modeling Tropical Termite Nest Growth Rate in Relation to External Temperature Variations

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Termites act as ecosystem engineers, capable of maintaining the flow of resources in an ecosystem by recycling dead organic materials. This characteristic may be especially important on St. John, USVI, where the arboreal nesting termite, Nasutitermes acajutlae is the major invertebrate degrader. Our goal is to investigate nest growth rate patterns of these termites in five tropical habitat types (dry forest, mangroves, moist forest, sparse vegetation, and woodlands) on St. John via mathematical modeling. We have collected data on >200 N. acajutlae nests from these habitats spanning the years 1998-2013. Using nest volume data, we incorporated external temperature of both the mangrove and dry habitats into a logistic model describing nest growth rate annually in each habitat. We modeled the external temperature as being directly proportional to growth rate. The internal temperature of nests tends to be warmer, and therefore a warmer temperature seemed to be beneficial for growth. Our hypothesis is that each habitat will have its own pattern of growth rate in relationship to temperature. Modeling the dry and mangrove habitats in St. John showed temperature did not have a profound effect on growth rates.

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The Effect of Temperature and Fungal Resistance on Termites, Nasutitermes acajutlae: Influences of Temperature and Resistance to a Pathogenic Fungus on Colony Growth and Individual Survival: STUDY 2 (Stringfield & Darling): Mathematically Modeling Tropical Termite Nest Growth Rate in Relation to External Temperature Variations

Termites act as ecosystem engineers, capable of maintaining the flow of resources in an ecosystem by recycling dead organic materials. This characteristic may be especially important on St. John, USVI, where the arboreal nesting termite, Nasutitermes acajutlae is the major invertebrate degrader. Our goal is to investigate nest growth rate patterns of these termites in five tropical habitat types (dry forest, mangroves, moist forest, sparse vegetation, and woodlands) on St. John via mathematical modeling. We have collected data on >200 N. acajutlae nests from these habitats spanning the years 1998-2013. Using nest volume data, we incorporated external temperature of both the mangrove and dry habitats into a logistic model describing nest growth rate annually in each habitat. We modeled the external temperature as being directly proportional to growth rate. The internal temperature of nests tends to be warmer, and therefore a warmer temperature seemed to be beneficial for growth. Our hypothesis is that each habitat will have its own pattern of growth rate in relationship to temperature. Modeling the dry and mangrove habitats in St. John showed temperature did not have a profound effect on growth rates.