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Sustainable Human and Ecological Development (SHED)

The Effects of Biotic Complexity in Ornamental Gardens on Herbivorous Arthropod Pests

Ornamental gardens are abundant throughout residential landscapes.  These ecosystems can affect patterns of biodiversity and species movement.  They also provide ecosystem services by enhancing aesthetics and pollinator habitat.  However, being embedded within urbanizing landscapes makes them vulnerable to herbivorous arthropod pests.

This study will quantify how alpha and beta plant diversity of gardens, as well as their structural complexity and landscape context, affect the abundance of herbivorous arthropod pests and the degree to which these effects occur via top-down vs. bottom-up regulation.  Findings will be used to design and place future gardens in ways that maximize their resistance to herbivorous pests, thus limiting the need for chemical pesticides.