The data describe the ecological responses (invertebrate diversity and biomass, plant diversity, soil characteristics and microbial diversity) to experimental manipulation of floristic diversity and vegetation height in planted urban meadows. The experiment consisted of a replicated set of nine different perennial meadow treatments, sown in six public urban greenspaces in the towns of Bedford and Luton, in the UK.
Publication date: 2019-06-25
Experimental plots (of 250 square metres at all except one site) were established, by herbicide application, rotovation and sowing in existing amenity grassland, in 2013. Data were collected in the second season after establishment. Plant diversity was assessed by quadrat sampling within experimental plots, and by visual surveys. Plant identification is primarily to species level. Invertebrate diversity was assessed from collections made by vacuum sampling, sweep netting and visual surveys (summer) and for some plots by hand searching (winter). Sampled material was preserved and subsequently sorted and identified in the laboratory. Invertebrate identification is primarily to order level, with the exception of the Coleoptera, which are to family level. Soil condition and microbial diversity was assessed from multiple soil cores from each experimental plot (for a subset of sites), with subsequent laboratory analysis of C, N, pH, and microbial DNA and PLFA. Samples were processed in Sheffield (invertebrates), Cranfield (soil characteristics, PLFA), and Warwick (DNA). Quality assurance was managed by the senior researcher carrying out the processing in each laboratory, overseen by the principal and co-investigators of the project.