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Study Shows Stressed Urban Insects are More Resilient in Extreme Weather

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A study led by Amy Savage, a Rutgers University–Camden assistant professor of biology, will help researchers understand how to make predictions and conservation decisions about how organisms living in cities will respond to catastrophic weather events.

A study led by Amy Savage, a Rutgers University–Camden assistant professor of biology, will help researchers understand how to make predictions and conservation decisions about how organisms living in cities will respond to catastrophic weather events.

Savage’s analysis, conducted in New York City, compared the diversity of arthropods – insects such as ants, bees, beetles, and wasps – that were living in parks and street medians before and after Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged parts of New Jersey and New York in 2012.

The study, “Homogenizing an Urban Habitat Mosaic: Arthropod diversity declines in New York City parks after Super Storm Sandy,” was published in the journal Ecological Applications.

The study shows that before the storm, the diversity was higher in the parks than in street medians. After the storm, arthropod diversity in the parks declined, resulting in communities in parks becoming indistinguishable from those in street medians. In other words, the higher diversity detected in parks before the storm was absent from post-storm samples.

Continue reading at Rutgers University

Photo: Amy Savage searches New York City medians for ants as cars pass by.  CREDIT: Lauren Nichols.