Biodiversity – Insects on the Roof!

Biodiversity is term used to describe the the biological diversity within a unit of area, such as a stream, a state, or a roof.  Biodiversity considers all types of organisms, including plants and invertebrates.  Although the focus of our project is growing healthy plants, any biologist would be excited to see invertebrates colonizing a previously barren rooftop, even if they are herbivorous!  So far we have seen:

Two types of beetles, from the order Coleoptera

Lady Bugs from the family Coccinellidae.  These lady bugs are predators, and eat some of the herbivorous pests leaving the holes seen in the leaves of this Aamaranthus.

The spotted cucumber beetle: Diabrotica Undecimpunctata.  This is an herbivorous pest, eating our crops! But, still neat.

Pollinators from the order Hymenoptera

Pollination is a key ecosystem service.  Without pollinators, all of the fruits we love such as cucumbers, tomatoes, oranges, apples, figs, blue berries and many many more would never mature!  (Yes, tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits).

A bumble bee: Bombus sp.

We have also seen yellow jackets, and a number of small solitary bees and a very beautiful leaf hopper: Graphocephala coccinea

Beth Ansaldi, Kalamazoo College, is an incoming PhD student at Fordham University joining up with the Lewis Lab and FUSE.  She will be in-charge of a pilot study to get an idea of the insect Biodiversity on our rooftop.  Other Fordham students are working on this topic also.  Dustin Partidge, a graduate student, is currently investigating what invertebrates will colonize various kinds of green roofs and investigating how the diversity varies between rooftop types.


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