Diversity of indoor arthropods increases in ‘affluent’ neighborhoods 

There is an interesting new open access paper on urban ecosystems out in Biology Letters: Exoskeletons and economics: indoor arthropod diversity increases in affluent neighbourhoods | Biology Letters

No it is not directly about microbes but nobody’s perfect and many of the arthropods they look at are small and the story about biodiversity is (I think) of interest to those studying microbes in the built environment.

Here is the abstract:

In urban ecosystems, socioeconomics contribute to patterns of biodiversity. The ‘luxury effect’, in which wealthier neighbourhoods are more biologically diverse, has been observed for plants, birds, bats and lizards. Here, we used data from a survey of indoor arthropod diversity (defined throughout as family-level richness) from 50 urban houses and found that house size, surrounding vegetation, as well as mean neighbourhood income best predict the number of kinds of arthropods found indoors. Our finding, that homes in wealthier neighbourhoods host higher indoor arthropod diversity (consisting of primarily non-pest species), shows that the luxury effect can extend to the indoor environment. The effect of mean neighbourhood income on indoor arthropod diversity was particularly strong for individual houses that lacked high surrounding vegetation ground cover, suggesting that neighbourhood dynamics can compensate for local choices of homeowners. Our work suggests that the management of neighbourhoods and cities can have effects on biodiversity that can extend from trees and birds all the way to the arthropod life in bedrooms and basements.

Authors: Misha Leong, Matthew A. Bertone, Keith M. Bayless, Robert R. Dunn, Michelle D. Trautwein

There are a variety of stories out about it including this one: Richer Homes Are Also Richer in Biodiversity

Worth checking out.


Leave a Reply

Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.