Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 513–532 | Cite as

Local and landscape drivers of arthropod abundance, richness, and trophic composition in urban habitats

  • Stacy M. Philpott
  • Julie Cotton
  • Peter Bichier
  • Russell L. Friedrich
  • Leigh C. Moorhead
  • Shinsuke Uno
  • Monica Valdez


Urban green spaces, such as forest fragments, vacant lots, and community gardens, are increasingly highlighted as biodiversity refuges and are of growing interest to conservation. At the same time, the burgeoning urban garden movement partially seeks to ameliorate problems of food security. Arthropods link these two issues (conservation and food security) given their abundance, diversity, and role as providers of ecosystem services like pollination and pest control. Many previous studies of urban arthropods focused on a single taxon (e.g. order or family), and examined either local habitat drivers or effects of landscape characteristics. In contrast, we examined both local and landscape drivers of community patterns, and examined differences in abundance, richness, and trophic structure of arthropod communities in urban forest fragments, vacant lots, and community gardens. We sampled ground-foraging arthropods, collected data on 24 local habitat features (e.g., vegetation, ground cover, concrete), and examined land-cover types within 2 km of 12 study sites in Toledo, Ohio. We found that abundance and richness of urban arthropods differed by habitat type and that richness of ants and spiders, in particular, varied among lots, gardens, and forests. Several local and landscape factors correlated with changes in abundance, richness, and trophic composition of arthropods, and different factors were important for specific arthropod groups. Overwhelmingly, local factors were the predominant (80 % of interactions) driver of arthropods in this urban environment. These results indicate that park managers and gardeners alike may be able to manage forests and gardens to promote biodiversity of desired organisms and potentially improve ecosystem services within the urban landscape.


Community gardens Conservation Forest Habitat characteristics Landscape Urbanization Vacant lots 



This study was funded by a grant from the University Research Award and Fellowship Program of the University of Toledo and a Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant and School of Natural Resources and Environment Opus Award from of the University of Michigan. M. Szuberla, ToledoGROWS, and the City of Toledo helped with site selection and access. We thank A. Bobak for assisting with field and lab work. R. Becker and R. John provided assistance with the GIS and land-cover classification. B. Nichols assisted with the spatial autocorrelation test. H. Cohen, T. Cornelisse, K. Ennis, D. Gonthier, E. Jimenez-Soto, D. Letourneau, and E. Olimpi provided helpful feedback on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11252_2013_333_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (32 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stacy M. Philpott
    • 1
    • 3
  • Julie Cotton
    • 2
    • 4
  • Peter Bichier
    • 1
    • 3
  • Russell L. Friedrich
    • 1
    • 5
  • Leigh C. Moorhead
    • 1
    • 6
  • Shinsuke Uno
    • 2
    • 7
  • Monica Valdez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Environmental Studies DepartmentUniversity of California Santa CruzSanta CruzUSA
  4. 4.Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  5. 5.USDA-ARSUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  7. 7.Ichigaya Liberal Art CenterHosei UniversityTokyoJapan

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