To date, the vast majority of studies in urban areas have been carried out on birds, yet it is not known whether the responses of birds to urbanization are congruent with those of other taxa. In this paper, we compared the responses of breeding birds and carabid beetles to urbanization, specifically asking whether the emerging generalizations of the effects of extreme levels of urbanization on birds (declines in total species richness and the richness of specialist species, increases in total abundance and the abundances of native generalist and introduced species, and community simplification, including increasing similarity) could also be applied to ground beetles. We also directly tested for congruence between birds and ground beetles using correlations between variables describing bird and beetle community structure and correlations between bird and beetle distance matrices describing community dissimilarity between pairs of sampling locations. Breeding bird and carabid beetle community data were collected in Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, in two groups of sites: developed sites representing the predictor variable within-site housing density, and forested sites adjacent to development representing the predictor variable neighboring housing density (each site was 0.25 km 2). Breeding birds and carabid beetles do not respond similarly to increasing within-site housing density but do exhibit some similar responses to increasing neighboring housing density. Birds displayed strong declines in diversity, compositional changes, and community simplification in response to increasing within-site housing density. Forest and introduced species of birds and beetles responded similarly to increasing housing density within a site, but responses of overall diversity and open-habitat species richness and patterns of community simplification differed between birds and beetles. Increasing neighboring housing density resulted in increases in the abundances of introduced birds and introduced beetles and similar patterns of community simplification in both taxa. To better understand and mitigate the effects of urbanization on biodiversity, we suggest that, in addition to the responses of birds, future research should focus on the responses of other taxa in the urban matrix.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Biodiversity congruence, Breeding birds, Canada, Carabidae, Edge effect, Forest remnant, Gatineau, Ground beetle, Housing density, Indicator taxon, Ontario, Ottawa, Quebec, Residential development, Urban gradient
Persistent URL
Journal Ecological Applications
Gagné, S.A. (Sara A.), & Fahrig, L. (2011). Do birds and beetles show similar responses to urbanization?. Ecological Applications (Vol. 21, pp. 2297–2312). doi:10.1890/09-1905.1