Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2016 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Different dimensions of urban biodiversity confer shifts in ecosystems services
Swan, Christopher
Co-Authors: Anna Johnson, Dorothy Borowy

Abstract: Biodiversity is the foundation for nearly all ecosystem services. The role biodiversity plays in mediating the role of ecosystem services in urban ecosystems is largely unknown, especially in light of understudied community assembly processes. Given the expanding availability of green space on vacant land, uncovering the relationship between biodiversity - especially of plant communities - and ecosystem services has translational value. Holding species richness constant, we manipulated phylogenetic and functional trait diversities of herbaceous plants at the vacant lot scale. Our goal was to learn the independent and interactive effects of trait variability and shared evolutionary history on relevant ecosystem services. After three years, we found shifts in vegetative cover and diversity of native and non-native plant species, as well as biodiversity patterns. As predicted, the strongest effects were found where both phylogenetic and functional plant diversities were highest compared to that of unmanaged vacant land. Our results suggest that different dimensions of biodiversity may inform the management of green space to better elicit desirable changes in some ecosystem services. This may help better meet sustainability action goals in cities.