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Steven D. Frank

Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0173844): Urban habitats are characterized by impervious surfaces, which increase temperatures and reduce water availability to plants. The effects of these conditions on herbivorous insects are not well understood, but may provide insight into future conditions. Three primary hypotheses have been proposed to explain why multiple herbivorous arthropods are more abundant and damaging in cities, and support has been found for each. First, less complex vegetation may reduce biological control of pests. Second, plant stress can increase plant quality for pests. And third, urban warming can directly increase pest fitness and abundance. These...
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In this proposal we investigate how tree selection at the local scale affects biodiversity and ecosystem services (Obj. 1). We then look regionally to determine the extent to which trees in cities can be used to predict heat-related threats to rural forests (Obj. 2). We will leverage ongoing investigations of heat-related stress and pest outbreaks in urban and rural forests to develop management recommendations for both systems. These ongoing projects provide a knowledge-base, infrastructure (e.g. study sites), equipment (e.g. Li-Cor Photosynthesis System), and outreach opportunities that will extend the impact of this project (see Synergistic and Future Funding section below). We will also convene a working group...
Abstract (from http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1961.1): Trees provide ecosystem services that counter negative effects of urban habitats on human and environmental health. Unfortunately, herbivorous arthropod pests are often more abundant on urban than rural trees, reducing tree growth, survival, and ecosystem services. Previous research where vegetation complexity was reduced has attributed elevated urban pest abundance to decreased regulation by natural enemies. However, reducing vegetation complexity, particularly the density of overstory trees, also makes cities hotter than natural habitats. We ask how urban habitat characteristics influence an abiotic factor, temperature, and a biotic factor,...
Abstract (from http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0102996): Trees are essential to urban habitats because they provide services that benefit the environment and improve human health. Unfortunately, urban trees often have more herbivorous insect pests than rural trees but the mechanisms and consequences of these infestations are not well documented. Here, we examine how temperature affects the abundance of a scale insect, Melanaspis tenebricosa (Comstock) (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), on one of the most commonly planted street trees in the eastern U.S. Next, we examine how both pest abundance and temperature are associated with water stress, growth, and condition of 26 urban street trees....
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