Built infrastructure coupled with impervious surfaces characterizes urbanization which dramatically changes both biotic and abiotic attributes of an ecosystem from prior patterns. Vegetation in urban systems provides a vast array of ecosystem services, including biodiversity conservation, absorption of air pollutants, and oxygen generation. In this study, we examine natural habitats in natural areas now in urban land use to identify parallels in ecosystem function and biodiversity. Our research consists of three main steps: Identifying structurally analogous habitats in urban and nearby natural and spontaneous unmanaged habitats; characterizing the communities associated with these habitats and their functions to generate hypotheses about their potential applicability to urban systems. Herein, we present data from a preliminary study examining bryophyte communities growing in urban and natural thin soil environments in the Cuyahoga River watershed. At 23 sites within the study area, we characterized bryophyte communities and recorded physical attributes of their habitats. Bryophytes (mosses) were observed across all the sampled habitats. Providing patches of habitat in cities is the key to fostering biodiversity, however, many projects fostering urban biodiversity focus on larger infrastructure. Yet, small, ruderal patches of vegetation may offer functional habitat patches in areas where larger infrastructure elements cannot be accommodated.
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