Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Sherah VanLaerhoven

Rights

CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Mechanisms of coexistence in structured communities remain poorly understood. This study's goal was to elucidate how community composition and basal resource type mediate species interactions. A carrion community of three blow fly species, Phormia regina (native), Lucilia sericata (native), and Chrysomya rufifacies (invasive) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) were placed in mixed and single species communities on various food resources to examine fitness, development, and mortality changes. Food resource utilization and the interactions occurring between the species varied in each of the communities. Resource type and community composition mediated changes in L. sericata and P. regina causing shortened development times, increased mortality and decreased adult fitness when compared to single species communities. Chrysomya rufifacies excluded P. regina from some of the mixed communities. These findings suggest the potential exclusion of P. regina from some carrion resources and a decline in native populations and abundances in Southern Ontario, Canada if C. rufifacies becomes established.

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