Somers Science Research Podcast
Episode 4

Brown, Chelsea & Jones, Emma - Differential Decomposition of a Single Diptera Species versus a Community of Diptera Species

William Maelia published on

Forensic diptera entomology is the study of flies as they decompose in carcasses, primarily used in forensic science to determine how long the organism these flies are inhabiting has been deceased. Decomposition rates can vary widely for numerous natural reasons, which are commonly studied by entomologists, along with comparing single species to each other. This study, in contrast, compares single species to a community of species to determone if there is a diffrence between decomposition rates when there are other fly species present versus when only one species is present. It was hypothesized that the single species, Sarcophaga bullata, would decompose at a faster rate than that of the community of Calliphoridae (Wildlife) species. In this study, the single species Sarcophaga bullata was used to represent the lab setting, and the community of Calliphoridae flies was used to represent the natural setting. Over the course of four months, ground beef was placed in fly cages and once removed, allowed to sit for two weeks. The initial and final weights were measured to determine the percentage of meat decomposed over this time period for each species. It was found that although the s.bullata had higher average decomposition rate, the p-value was greater than 0.05 (p=0.416), meaning that there was not a statistical significance between the single species versus the community species. 

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