Are urban and rural habitat resources created equal? I’m interested in finding out! Taking milkweed from an urban location and from a rural location, Canisius students Alexia Marconi and Niki Regels and I investigated whether Monarch caterpillars choose one over the other. Specifically, we measured milkweed herbivory and growth of larvae given a choice between urban and rural milkweed.
Also, I collected leaf litter from the Monarch habitat sites along the urban-rural gradient. We will use this litter to test habitat quality, using decomposing Tenebrionid beetles. Specifically, we will compare beetle larvae growth and development when larvae are fed litter from urban, suburban, and rural habitat sites.