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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Context Matters: Contrasting Ladybird Beetle Responses to Urban Environments across Two US Regions

1
Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
2
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Göttingen, Göttingen NI 37077, Germany
3
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
4
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1829; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061829
Received: 8 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
Urban agroecosystems offer an opportunity to investigate the diversity and distribution of organisms that are conserved in city landscapes. This information is not only important for conservation efforts, but also has important implications for sustainable agricultural practices. Associated biodiversity can provide ecosystem services like pollination and pest control, but because organisms may respond differently to the unique environmental filters of specific urban landscapes, it is valuable to compare regions that have different abiotic conditions and urbanization histories. In this study, we compared the abundance and diversity of ladybird beetles within urban gardens in California and Michigan, USA. We asked what species are shared, and what species are unique to urban regions. Moreover, we asked how beetle diversity is influenced by the amount and rate of urbanization surrounding sampled urban gardens. We found that the abundance and diversity of beetles, particularly of unique species, respond in opposite directions to urbanization: ladybirds increased with urbanization in California, but decreased with urbanization in Michigan. We propose that in California water availability in gardens and the urbanization history of the landscape could explain the divergent pattern. Thus, urban context is likely a key contributor to biodiversity within habitats and an important consideration for sustainable agricultural practices in urban agroecosystems. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban gardens; biological control; impervious surface; urbanization rate; Michigan; California urban gardens; biological control; impervious surface; urbanization rate; Michigan; California
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Egerer, M.; Li, K.; Ong, T.W.Y. Context Matters: Contrasting Ladybird Beetle Responses to Urban Environments across Two US Regions. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1829.

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