Publication Date


The theoretical predictions of island biogeography have been applied successfully by a number of researchers studying the population and community structures of invertebrates living in large urban parks and remnant natural areas. Few, however, have examined the biogeography of smaller patches and the role that specific dispersal techniques play in shaping species distributions. In this study, I examine the impact of several biogeographical and environmental factors, including wind channelization effects, on the abundance of soil mites in small, urban tree wells in Westminster, Maryland. By testing five models that include the variables of well area, isolation, and dominate wind direction, I account for all possible directions in which channelization effects may be directing wind flow most frequently, therefore accounting for the impact of wind dispersal on mite distribution. As one would expect if mite abundances were impacted by the dominate direction of wind flow on a given street, only one of these models significantly explained the pattern of mite abundances found from sampling the tree wells. While the low power of the models requires that these results be viewed as inconclusive, the unusually high amount of variance explained by the significant model (R2 = 0.76), along with its agreement with better established biogeographical relationships, does suggest that future research into the role of wind as a factor in the biogeography of passively dispersing urban invertebrates may be worthwhile.