Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name




Faculty Mentor

Jeremiah Henning


Amy Sprinkle, John McCreadie


Coastal dune ecosystems are globally distributed ecosystems that occur from the tropics to the poles and serve as the first line of defense during storms. They are critical habitats for a variety of organisms and also play a critical role in stabilizing coastal habitats. These systems face increased pressure via urban development, recreational expansion, and sea-level rise (Newman et al. 2023; Webster et al. 2005). Insects are vital consumers in coastal ecosystems and act as regulators of plant growth. Low-diversity ecosystems, like coastal dune systems, often contain a higher abundance of low-diverse insect consumers (Ripple et al. 2021), which can be impacted by the addition of nutrients. Generally, an increase in nutrient deposition in an environment leads to an increase in the abundance of insect herbivores, which may increase predatory insects (Lind et al. 2017). Thus, disturbance and nutrient addition may interact to determine community stability and response to future disturbance events. To understand how disturbance and nutrient addition impact insect communities, the author established a nutrient addition crossed with a mechanical disturbance experiment on Dauphin Island, Alabama. The experiment is being conducted as part of a larger, global-scale research collaborative network - Disturbance and Resources Across Global Grasslands Network (DRAGNet).


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Available for download on Tuesday, March 25, 2025