Previous research by Drs. Kevin McCluney and John Sabo in streamside forests in AZ suggested that water stress can directly influence species interactions (McCluney and Sabo 2009). We demonstrated that water stressed spiders were essentially “drinking” crickets and crickets were “drinking” leaves, eating to get water rather than energy or nutrients. Later, Drs. Kevin McCluney and Steve Frank found evidence that arthropods in urban Raleigh, NC were also water stressed and this influenced rates of leaf damage on maple trees used in landscaping.
Continuing research is investigating where and when arthropods are water stressed in hotter/drier and cooler/moister parts of Toledo (a large city), Bowling Green (a small city), and Oak Openings (a natural ancient sand dune landscape), all in northwest Ohio. This research should help expand our understanding of the frequency and importance of water stress for the ecology of animals and plants and the implications for urban pest management.