The lab has published several papers this year, related to either animal water content and ecology, urbanization, or both.
Kevin McCluney, Justin Burdine, and Steve Frank published a paper showing that mean arthropod water content in Raleigh, NC, Phoenix, AZ, and Orlando, FL becomes more similar with increasing urbanization. Highly urban Raleigh arthropods are drier, while highly urban Phoenix and Orlando arthropods are wetter. Other research has documented how changes in arthropod water content can influence trophic interactions and food web dynamics. Thus our results suggest that urbanization can change food webs by altering arthropod water balance (in vs out).
Undergraduate alumni Edward Lagucki, advised by PhD student Justin Burdine, and Kevin McCluney published a paper showing that gardens and parks in more urban settings of Toledo have fewer flying insects, including groups of insects that include pollinators like bees, and predators important for controlling pests. Higher soil moisture seems to help alleviate some of these declines. Although more research is needed to better identify particular species that are highly affected and confirm mechanisms, this research contributes to growing evidence that urbanization can alter food webs in ways that influence humans.
Kevin McCluney published a sole-authored opinion paper, laying out the evidence that arthropods may be widely water-limited and exploring how variation in animal water balance (in vs out) might influence food webs. Email Dr. McCluney if you would like a copy of this paper (not open access).