Insect Use of Wildlife Crossings
Wildlife & Ecosystems
Research Idea Scope
Wildlife crossings such as overpasses, underpasses, or culverts designed to help animals avoid vehicle traffic can reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, protect animals, and help maintain their habitat connectivity. While the benefits of wildlife crossings are known for vertebrates such as deer, bears, mountain lions, turtles, and reptiles, little is known about the value to invertebrates such as pollinators and other insects. Research objectives include assessing insect use of different types of wildlife crossings, and monitoring movements of key groups within landscapes with and without wildlife crossings to understand the impacts of crossings on insect collisions with vehicles.
Urgency and Payoff
There is growing evidence that a number of pollinator species are in decline, as well as a number of other groups of insects. Insects play key roles in ecosystem health, as well as in agricultural production. Revegetation to support insect biodiversity is a known strategy effective for pollinator and beneficial insect conservation. It is therefore important to understand which types of crossings might aid habitat connectivity for insects or reduce vehicle collisions with insects. This information could inform designs of crossings to aid the movement of vertebrates to increase their functionality for key insect groups. For example, incorporating particular plant species into the revegetation of an overpass may increase the value to pollinators and aid in their crossing and movement within landscapes.