Living on the edge: The sensitivity of arthropods to development and climate along an urban-wildland interface in the Sonoran Desert of central Arizona

Derek A. Uhey, Richard W. Hofstetter, Stevan Earl, Jerry Holden, Tiffany Sprague, Helen Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Preservation of undeveloped land near urban areas is a common conservation practice. However, ecological processes may still be affected by adjacent anthropogenic activities. Ground-dwelling arthropods are a diverse group of organisms that are critical to ecological processes such as nutrient cycling, which are sensitive to anthropogenic activities. Here, we study arthropod dynamics in a preserve located in a heavily urbanized part of the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, U.S.. We compared arthropod biodiversity and community composition at ten locations, four paired sites representing the urban edge and one pair in the Preserve interior. In total, we captured and identified 25,477 arthropod individuals belonging to 287 lowest practical taxa (LPT) over eight years of sampling. This included 192 LPTs shared between interior and edge sites, with 44 LPTs occurring exclusively in interior sites and 48 LPTs occurring exclusively in edge sites. We found two site pairs had higher arthropod richness on the preserve interior, but results for evenness were mixed among site pairs. Com-positionally, the interior and edge sites were more than 40% dissimilar, driven by species turnover. Importantly, we found that some differences were only apparent seasonally; for example edge sites had more fire ants than interior sites only during the summer. We also found that temperature and precipitation were strong predictors of arthropod composition. Our study highlights that climate can interact with urban edge effects on arthropod biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0297227
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume19
Issue number4 April
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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