Insights into an emerging insect habitat: Ant communities on green roofs in 3 Ohio cities
Many cities are experiencing a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect largely as a result of decreased vegetation. Green roofs have been used to help combat this issue, and many claim that they also provide habitat for urban wildlife. There is a significant knowledge gap in our understanding of the interactions between urban wildlife and this artificial habitat. The insect family Formicidae (ants) are a great study organism for this system because they are ubiquitous across urban areas and their ecology is easily studied with simple methods. In the summer months of 2022, soil samples, temperature data, and ants were collected from nine study sites spanning across three cities in Southwestern Ohio (Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus). I predicted that the green roofs would be hotter and drier than their immediate ground level habitats. Ant activity was predicted to be negatively correlated with increasing height and positively correlated with increased plant species richness and soil depth. I also hypothesized that when presented with an equal opportunity to forage for salt or sugar, ants foraging on green roofs would have a more pronounced preference for sodium over sugar due to the deicing practices of roads and sidewalks and increased sucrose availability on the roofs. This proposed work could help inform land managers about the type of habitat that green roofs provide, and provide novel insight into how they affect arthropod communities.
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium, College of Arts and Sciences
Institutional Learning Goals
Critical Evaluation of Our Times; Scholarship
"Insights into an emerging insect habitat: Ant communities on green roofs in 3 Ohio cities" (2023). Stander Symposium Projects. 3198.