Molecular analysis of grashopper populations to aid in prairie restoration efforts
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Although the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and nongovernment organizations have invested heavily in prairie restoration over the past decade, little effort had been made to evaluate whether insect species that inhabit these projects are also restored to pre-settlement diversity. To evaluate the effect of prairie restoration attempts on insect species diversity, eighty individual red-legged grasshoppers, Melanoplus femurrubrum (DeGeer), were collected from 7 populations in 3 relic and 4 restored grasslands. Molecular analyses were designed to obtain gene sequence data by polymerase chain reactions (PCR) amplification and sequencing the mitochondrial genes cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI)and cytochrome B (cytB). Sixty eight M. femurrubrum sequences obtained for COI and fifty seven cytochrome b sequences were aligned and compared. These data may ultimately be used to improve the management of relic and restored grasslands.