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Contrasting effects of tree origin and urbanization on invertebrate abundance and tree phenology

Citation

Jensen, Johan Kjellberg et al. (2021), Contrasting effects of tree origin and urbanization on invertebrate abundance and tree phenology, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.05qfttf32

Abstract

The ongoing wide-scale introduction of non-native plants across the world may negatively influence native invertebrate fauna, due to a lack of co-evolved traits related to the novel plants, e.g. unique phytochemicals or shifted phenology. Non-native plants, specifically trees, are common in urban environments, areas that already pose novel habitats to plants and wildlife through a wide array of anthropogenic factors. For example, impervious surfaces contribute to increased ambient temperatures, the so-called urban heat island effect (UHI), which can affect local plant phenology. Yet, few studies have simultaneously studied the effects of urbanization and tree species origin on urban invertebrate communities. We measured the city-level UHI and phenology of nine native and seven non-native tree species in five city-centre parks in Southern Sweden, as well as four common native species in a rural control forest. We quantified the abundance of invertebrates on a subset of native and non-native tree species through shake-sampling, sticky-traps and frass collection. In the urban environment, non-native trees hosted significantly fewer invertebrates compared to native trees. Furthermore, the non-native trees had a delayed phenology compared to native species, while the peak of caterpillars associated with the subset of trees surveyed for this measure was significantly earlier compared to that of the native species studied. The effect of tree species origin on urban invertebrate abundance was of a greater magnitude (effect size) than the effect of urbanization on invertebrate abundance in native tree hosts. Hence, the results indicate that the impact of non-native vegetation may be a stronger driver of invertebrate declines in urban areas than other factors. As the effect of species origin on tree phenology was at a level comparable to the urban effect, increasing prevalence of non-native vegetation can potentially obscure effects of urbanization on phenology in large-scale studies, as well as induce mis-matches to invertebrate populations. Since parks harbour a large proportion of urban biodiversity, native trees play a crucial role in such habitats and should not be considered replaceable by non-native species in terms of conservation value. --