Bhattacharjee, Aishwarya , Blake-Mahmud, Jennifer , Frazee, Lauren , STRUWE, LENA .
Weeds Under Your Car: Island Biogeography in an Urban Setting.
Increasing rates of urbanization has isolated habitat fragments in urban environments. These small urban habitats function as islands for wild species capable of surviving in highly disturbed environments. The study of island biodiversity dates back to naturalists such as Charles Darwin, who famously noted biogeographical patterns of species in the Galapagos Islands. Islands provide small-scale areas where we can observe rapid evolutionary and ecological processes. The theory of island biogeography relates observed spatial patterns of species to respective area, a well-studied concept in natural ecosystems. Whether this pattern is present in disjunct, urban micro areas is unknown. Substituting oceanic islands with Rutgers’ urban parking lots, we were able to study species that endure extremely disturbed environments. These plants are constantly killed by a multitude of factors including the spraying of herbicides, seasonal weather changes and being driven over by vehicles. We examined the species-area relationship for weedy plants in pervasive parking lot habitats, predicting that larger lots would have more species. We conducted a survey of 20 parking lots at Rutgers, and compiled a list of species present in each lot. A correlation between area and the number of species present was observed, showing for the first time that these urban micro areas follow general island biogeography principles. Future work will examine if native and non-native species exhibit the same spatial distributions, or if non-native species are more prevalent overall regardless of “island” size.
1 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, 14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, United States
2 - Rutgers University, 14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, United States
3 - Graduate Program In Ecology And Evolution, Ecology, Evolution, And Natural Resources, 14 College Farm Rd., 1st Floor, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA
4 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resorces, 237 Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Candidate for Awards:None