Origin, Diversity and Abundance of Soil Fauna in Baltimore and Budapest: a Comparison
Katalin Szlavecz, Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University
Urbanization is a major type of land use change, which has a profound effect on soil communities. Human activities in cities often create stressful conditions in the soil, resulting in low species diversity. We have been assessing soil fauna in urban and rural forests in Baltimore and Budapest for two years using pitfall traps, soil extraction, earthworm extraction, and hand collecting. We hypothesized that urban areas have 1) lower overall species richness, but 2) higher number of non-native species. Baltimore had lower overall species richness, than Budapest. Budapest has also a biogeographically more diverse fauna. However, the proportion of non-native species was larger in Baltimore, than in Budapest. Contrary to our expectations, urban forests had greater diversity and greater abundance, than rural forests. Some species responds to urbanization by shifting their reproductive peaks. This indicates that one key to successful invasion is high plasticity in reproductive strategies.