Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 213–221 | Cite as

Responses of wasp communities to urbanization: effects on community resilience and species diversity

  • Fiona J. ChristieEmail author
  • Dieter F. Hochuli
Original Paper


Urbanization is one of the most extreme and rapidly growing anthropogenic pressures on the natural world. It is linked to significant impacts on biodiversity and disruptions to ecological processes in remnant vegetation. We investigated the richness and abundance of wasps in a highly fragmented urban landscape in Sydney, Australia, comparing assemblages in small urban remnants to edges and interiors of continuous areas of vegetation. We detected no difference in wasp abundance or species richness between remnant types indicating that communities are highly resilient to the effects of urbanization at this scale. However, Chao 2 estimates of predicted species richness indicate that edge sites would support a greater richness and abundance of species compared to small and interior sites. Although families were represented evenly across the sites, interior and edge sites supported more species within families. Wasp composition was significantly affected by the temporal variation and trap location (arboreal or ground), particularly at the family level demonstrating high species turnover and discrimination in vertical space. These sampling effects and temporal inconsistencies highlight the hazards of relying on one-off snapshot surveys and uncorrected datasets for assessments of diversity and responses to urban landscapes. The strong resilience of wasp communities to urbanization when assessed at coarse scales indicates that responses at finer spatial and taxonomic scales are critical to understanding the maintenance of ecosystem function in highly modified landscapes.


Hymenoptera Parasitoids Urbanization Remnant vegetation Resilience Sydney 



We are grateful for comments from Scott Lassau and Adele Reid on an earlier version of the manuscript. We thank Michael Elliot and Michael Batley for help with wasp identification and Andy Austin for suggestions and advice on collection techniques. We thank an anonymous reviewer for comments on an earlier draft. The project was supported by an ARC Linkage grant to DFH and a Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales grant to FJC. The work in this thesis was performed under NSW NPWS permit B2234.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.The School of Forest and Ecosystem ScienceThe University of MelbourneCreswickAustralia

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