Arthropod diversity and ecosystem services in Manhattan after Super Storm Sandy: Does variation in chronic environmental stress predict the impacts of extreme weather events?
Results/Conclusions: Across all sites, habitat type (street median vs. city park), a proxy for chronic environmental stress level, affected within-site arthropod community composition (PerMANOVA: Phabitat type<0.0001), but did not significantly influence among-site arthropod composition (PermDisp: P=0.1378). While flooding did not significantly influence community composition in street medians or city parks, there were significantly more accumulated families in flooded than unflooded medians (ANCOVA: PFlood=0.0069). There were more accumulated arthropod families in parks than medians (PSite Type<0.0001), but this richness was not different in flooded vs. unflooded sites. Arthropods in medians removed as much human food as controls; in contrast, significantly more food was removed in controls than in exclosures in park sites (ANOVA: PSite Type x exclosure=0.0076), suggesting that arthropods may be more important to food removal in high stress habitats. In sum, these findings suggest that urban arthropod communities are remarkably resilient to the short-term disturbances associated with extreme weather events, perhaps because they are exposed to highly variable chronic environmental stressors over longer time spans.