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Negative effects of urbanisation on terrestrial arthropod communities: a meta-analysis

Cite this dataset

Fenoglio, Maria Silvina; Rossetti, María Rosa; Videla, Martin (2021). Negative effects of urbanisation on terrestrial arthropod communities: a meta-analysis [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim: Urbanisation is one of the most significant anthropogenic alterations of the earth's surface, and constitutes a major threat to biodiversity at the global level. Arthropods are a very diverse group of organisms, with many species that provide essential ecosystem services. However, their response to urbanisation is still unclear. Here we conducted the first meta-analysis that evaluates the overall effects of urbanisation on terrestrial arthropod communities and drives factors related to cities, arthropods and methods. Location: Global. Time period: 1979-2019. Major taxa studied: Arthropods. Methods: We compiled a dataset of 162 publications that evaluated urbanisation effects along rural-urban gradients that yielded 196 observations for diversity and 148 for abundance of arthropods. Moderator variables related to cities (climate region, size, age, air pollution level and vegetation cover), arthropods (taxonomic and functional group, mobility level) and methods (study duration and type of gradient) were considered. We analysed the data through a hierarchical meta-analysis that allowed us to take into account the dependency of multiple effect sizes obtained from one study. Results: Overall, urbanisation had a negative effect on diversity and abundance of terrestrial arthropods. The magnitude of the changes in diversity and abundance along the urban gradient depended on arthropod taxonomic group. Coleoptera and Lepidoptera were the most affected groups, suggesting that not all species respond in the same way to urbanisation. In addition, the age of the cities had a slightly negative influence but just on abundance. Main conclusions: Our results indicate that terrestrial arthropod communities are less diverse and abundant in more urbanised landscapes. Considering the current biodiversity crisis and the fact that urbanisation is one of the most extreme forms of global environmental change, the evidence here presented could be useful to support and direct new conservation efforts in urban habitats.