Site: Central Arizona - Phoenix LTER

Former student Jessica Alvarez Guevara doing her population survey of small mammals inside/outside urban Phoenix. She was letting the pocket mouse warm up from her body heat before releasing him so that he wouldn’t be a target for predators.
Credit: Becky Ball

An experiment that manipulated food resources and predation showed that different factors regulate plant-associated arthropod communities in desert and urban habitats. Bottom up factors were most influential in desert habitats, while urban arthropods responded to a complex set of relationships among climate, plant growth, and predation. Long term research at 12 riparian sites showed that engineered sites supported more generalists while native desert sites supported more specialists. Bird abundance, species richness, and diversity decreased across all riparian types from 2001-2015, and the riparian bird community is shifting towards one characteristic of more engineered sites with less water.