Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail


Blake, Jennifer [1], Palatini, Lauren [1], Struwe, Lena [1].

Do weed biodiversity patterns in urban parking lots fit colonization models of classic island biogeography?

Parking lots are areas that hold a great deal of importance in today’s society due to their prominence in the suburban and urban landscape. The way such spaces and their short-lived floral biodiversity are structured ecologically and taxonomically remains unclear. Although parking lots are often regarded as ecological wastelands (‘islands of asphalt’), the plants they harbor provide additional and often significant biodiversity in these highly disturbed environments. We investigated how parking lot size correlates with plant species richness and abundance. We surveyed eleven parking lots of various sizes (400-13,000 square meters) across Rutgers University’s Cook/Douglass Campus in New Brunswick, NJ, USA during fall 2012. Our hypothesis was that larger lots will have a greater number of species and a greater number of individual plants, which would fit classic island biogeography. Spraying of herbicide and mechanical plant killing and removal by hands, tools, and wheels, provide a highly disturbed environment similar to newly formed islands. Maybe each university campus has their own Hawaiian island chain on campus? Within each lot we sampled five random plots for species richness and abundance, as well as inventoried all species present. Parking lots were found to contain 1-22 species per lot, and in total 74 species were found to grow in the asphalt cracks of the parking lots. Preliminary data shows strong correlation between the average size of the parking lots and the average number of species as predicted by island biogeography theory (i.e., a larger island, more species present). However, number of individual plants was not affected by area size. This study is a novel approach to testing the species/area effect in an urban setting right outside our K-12 and college classrooms and this type of project also provides both scientific research and education opportunities on a very local and personal scale.

Broader Impacts:

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - Rutgers University, Ecology, Evolution, & Natural Resources, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901, USA

urban ecology
Species richness
species distribution models
island biogeography
plant distribution

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Grand Salon A - D/Riverside Hilton
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PBG002
Abstract ID:550
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright 2000-2012, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved