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Urbanization has been shown to be detrimental to ecosystems and to negatively impact ecosystem services and biodiversity, contributing to biological homogenization. This study focused on Coleoptera communities and soil characteristics (pH and conductivity) in urban and rural riparian forests, which are streamside forests that serve as transitional zones between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Urbanization in these areas can lead to habitat loss, increased pollution, excess nutrients, and altered hydrology. Beetles (order Coleoptera) in these ecosystems can be affected by urbanization and preserving their biodiversity is important since they provide essential services such as decomposition and nutrient cycling. In 2019, beetles were collected once a month from June to August in urban and rural riparian forests in the Greater Binghamton area. In 2020, soil samples were collected to determine the differences between urban and rural riparian forests. We hypothesized Coleoptera communities would be less abundant and less diverse in urban habitats. Additionally, we predicted that urban soils would have a lower pH and higher conductivity compared to rural soils. We collected 1310 beetles and 11 families were identified. Family Carabidae was the most abundant (59.8%). Results are inconclusive on trends of urbanization since we observed comparable levels of abundance and taxon richness. However, abundance and richness were, on average, higher in urban sites which could be due to excess nutrients, diverse vegetation, and other subsidies in urban riparian forests. We found that on average, pH was higher and conductivity was lower in urban soil samples. The higher pH could be due to better than previously thought buffering capacity in urban areas and low conductivity could be due to runoff over impermeable urban land cover.



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Urban and Rural Riparian Forests: Coleoptera Communities and Soil Characteristics