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Wednesday, April 11 • 2:45pm - 3:00pm
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION/CONNECTIVITY: Meso-predator Presence Along an Urban-Rural Gradient in a Mono-Culture Matrix

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AUTHORS: Brandon MacDougall*, Heather Sander – University of Iowa

ABSTRACT: Urban habitats, however small, fragmented, or degraded they may be, are becoming increasingly important areas for species conservation. In recent years, patterns of urban biodiversity have been identified and described for many groups of organisms; however, these studies have generally been conducted in large urban conglomerates. Much less is known about these patterns of diversity for small cities, as well as for cities located where expansive, non-urban habitat degradation has occurred, such as the vast agricultural region of the American Midwest. This lack of knowledge is an impediment to species conservation in these cities, where a higher proportion of tree cover and a greater mix of habitat diversity (when compared to the surrounding landscape) may provide unique opportunities for native species that remain. This study strives to address the impacts of urbanization on meso-predator species presence in an urban area located within an agricultural matrix. We monitor the presence and distribution of these species using motion-detecting cameras, with sampling sites covering a wide spectrum of variability in landscape structure along an urban-rural gradient in Iowa City, Iowa. Meso-predator species in this area vary in their response to urbanization; however, overall species diversity is positively correlated with site variables such as patch size and distance to riparian corridors, and less related to attributes corresponding to urbanization intensity. These findings can support efforts to retain ecological balance in human-dominated landscapes through the preservation of a wide range of meso-predator species.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 2:45pm - 3:00pm CDT
Hancock Parlor