HOME > Publications > Articles > Article Abstracts

Article Abstract – Spear et al. (2017)


The effects of development, vegetation-type conversion, and fire on low-elevation Southern California spider assemblages

Authors and affiliations:

Dakota M. Spear, Tessa A. Adams, Elise S. Boyd, Madison M. Dipman, Weston J. Staubus, and Wallace M. Meyer III

Department of Biology, Pomona College


Invertebr. Biol. 136: 134–145. (2017)


California sage scrub (CSS), a native ecosystem type of low-elevation areas of Southern California, is increasingly threatened by urban development, altered fire regimes, and vegetation-type conversion to non-native grasslands. Using pitfall traps, we examined how suburbanization, type conversion, and fire influence ground-dwelling spider assemblages in eastern Los Angeles County, CA, by surveying spiders in three habitats (CSS, non-native grasslands, and suburban areas) before and after a fire that occurred in a small portion of our study site. Spider assemblages in the suburban habitat differed from those in CSS and non-native grassland habitats, but CSS and grassland assemblages did not significantly differ. This suggests that the urban development, but not vegetation-type conversion to non-native grasslands, has significant effects on ground-dwelling spider assemblages. Fire had no observable effect on assemblages. Because ground-dwelling spiders were not impacted by fire and type conversion, increased fire frequencies, which often result in the establishment of non-native grasses, may not deleteriously influence this animal group, a differing pattern from other taxonomic groups. However, the rapid urban development occurring in low-elevation areas of Southern California means that species requiring non-suburban sites for their survival (15 species, 24.1%) may be threatened and require conservation assessment.

Full text:

HTML | PDF (subscription required)

© 2001-2018 Bernard Field Station Faculty Advisory Committee
Page last updated 18 May 2018 by Nancy Hamlett.