Fine-scale substrate heterogeneity does not affect arthropod communities on green roofs

Bracha Y. Schindler, Amiel Vasl, Leon Blaustein, David Gurevich, Gyongyver J. Kadas, Merav Seifan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Green roofs, which are roofs with growing substrate and vegetation, can provide habitat for arthropods in cities. Maintaining a diversity of arthropods in an urban environment can enhance the functions they fill, such as pest control and soil development. Theory suggests that the creation of a heterogeneous environment on green roofs would enhance arthropod diversity. Several studies have examined how arthropod diversity can be enhanced on green roofs, and particularly whether substrate properties affect the arthropod community, but a gap remains in identifying the effect of substrate heterogeneity within a green roof on the arthropod community. In this paper, it is hypothesized that creating heterogeneity in the substrate would directly affect the diversity and abundance of some arthropod taxa, and indirectly increase arthropod diversity through increased plant diversity. These hypotheses were tested using green roof plots in four treatments of substrate heterogeneity: (1) homogeneous dispersion; (2) mineral heterogeneity—with increased tuff concentration in subplots; (3) organic heterogeneity—with decreased compost concentrations in subplots; (4) both mineral and organic heterogeneity. Each of the four treatments was replicated twice on each of three roofs (six replicates per treatment) in a Mediterranean region. There was no effect of substrate heterogeneity on arthropod diversity, abundance, or community composition, but there were differences in arthropod communities among roofs. This suggests that the location of a green roof, which can differ in local climatic conditions, can have a strong effect on the composition of the arthropod community. Thus, arthropod diversity may be promoted by building green roofs in a variety of locations throughout a city, even if the roof construction is similar on all roofs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6445
JournalPeerJ
Volume2019
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Collembola
  • Formicidae
  • Soil heterogeneity
  • Vegetated roof

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)

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