Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) were created in order to identify Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and develop plans to prevent their populations from further decline and the possibility of being listed as threatened or endangered. Which SGCNs are included are decided based on characteristics that determine their vulnerability. As of early 2021, approximately 720stoneflies (Insecta, Plecoptera) species are found in the U.S., but only 143 are listed as SGCN. Only 29 states have stoneflies included on their SGCN lists, but 37 states use EPT (Ephemeroptera + Plecoptera + Trichoptera) metrics when assessing water quality issues in running water habitats. In future revisions of SWAPs, Plecoptera systematists and specialists should be consulted for more accurate information regarding at risk species. Existing conservation lists, such as those provided by the Natural Heritage Network (i.e., NatureServe), should also be consulted. Species that are endemic to specific areas should also be considered as they are not present anywhere else in the world. Overall, insects and other invertebrates tend to be left out of conservation efforts because of the lack of research and the lack of interest in protecting them. Their importance is often overlooked, and this continues to discourage additional research and conservation for these species.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Scott Grubbs, Ph.D.


Biology | Entomology | Natural Resources and Conservation