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Riparian zones are terrestrial habitats adjacent to rivers or streams that frequently undergo environmental fluctuation and offer unique ecosystem services. Previous research has shown that varying ground cover due to urbanization can lead to adverse effects on soil quality and arthropod abundance. This experiment investigates ground cover effects on arthropod communities, soil pH, and conductivity. The ground covers examined in this experiment were control, litter addition, litter removal, and grass addition. Forty plots were constructed in October 2020 in an urban riparian forest within Binghamton University’s Nature Area. Ground arthropods were collected in June, July, and September of 2021 while soil was collected in July and October. Ground arthropods were collected using twenty-four-hour wet pitfall traps and then counted and identified to order and family levels. Arthropod groups primarily consisted of spiders, centipedes/millipedes, beetles, springtails, ants, and mites. In June, we found the highest abundance of beetles in the grass addition (11.0 ± 1.6), followed by the removal (9.8 ± 1.7), and lastly the control (8.7 ± 1.1) and the addition (8.7 ± 1.3). The high abundance of beetles in grass treatment may be attributed to the dietary resources added, while the removal plots create an open habitat space. Results also show a difference in pH and conductivity for each treatment when compared to the control. This suggests that differences in microclimates caused by treatments may alter ground arthropods present and soil characteristics.



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Urban Ground Covers Influence Soil Characteristics and Beetle Communities in Riparian Zone