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Urban Ecosystems 

Latest Results for Urban Ecosystems
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Spatial variability of fish communities in a highly urbanised reef system
13. Juli 2017
Abstract Rapid coastal development has generated interest in the ecology of human-modified marine environments. Coastal defence structures such as breakwaters and seawalls are increasingly built to reduce erosion and to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise but knowledge on the marine biodiversity around these structures is lacking. Benthic cover and fish community were surveyed at nine offshore sites, comprising seven coral reefs and two seawalls, in the Singapore’s highly urbanised reef system. A total of 4943 fishes from 70 taxa were recorded, dominated by...
Patterns of pollinator turnover and increasing diversity associated with urban habitats
01. Juli 2017
Abstract The role of urban expansion on bee diversity is poorly understood, but it may play an important role in restructuring pollinator diversity observed in rural regions at the urban perimeter. We studied bee communities in two habitats essential for pollinators (residential gardens and semi-natural areas) at 42 sites situated at the edge of greater Montreal, Canada. Bee species richness, abundance and functional diversity all increased with urbanization in both habitat types, but gardens and semi-natural areas supported distinct bee communities with unique responses...
Urban environments are associated with earlier clutches and faster nestling feather growth compared to natural habitats
27. Juni 2017
Abstract Urbanization creates new habitats with novel benefits and challenges not found in natural systems. How a species fares in urban habitats is largely dependent on its life history, yet predicting the response of individual species to urbanization remains a challenge. While some species thrive in urban areas, others do poorly or are not present at all. Mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli) are year-round residents of montane regions of western North America. Commonly found in higher-elevation coniferous forests, these birds can also be found in urban areas where...
Canopy precipitation interception in urban forests in relation to stand structure
21. Juni 2017
Abstract Urban forests provide important ecosystem services. In terms of hydrological benefits, forest ecosystems in urban environments represent qualitative and quantitative filter for rainwater. We quantified the canopy interception in relation to urban forest stand structure and rainfall intensity in an urban transect of the mixed (upland) forest in the city centre, towards a riparian pine forest and a floodplain hardwood forest in the City of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Bulk precipitation in open areas and throughfall were measured with fixed rainfall collectors in each...
Nitrogen retention and loss in unfertilized lawns across a light gradient
15. Juni 2017
Abstract A desirable function for terrestrial urban ecosystems is the mitigation of nitrogen (N) pollution associated with cities and suburbs. To assist in maximizing this function, identifying locations of sources and sinks of N in the urban environment is crucial to inform management strategies. Lawns are an extensive land cover in urbanized landscapes, and in general, they have demonstrated the capacity to function as a sink for N inputs. How N is cycled by lawns, however, is likely not uniform across the physical heterogeneity or management activities that exist in...
The effects of scatter-hoarding rodents on Mongolian oak ( Quercus mongolica ) acorn dispersal and seedling distribution in urban woodland
13. Juni 2017
Abstract Scatter-hoarding by animals is an effective mechanism for seed dispersal and plant regeneration in natural ecosystems, however, studies on the interaction between hoarding animals and urban forest are insufficient. By methods of acorn placement experiment, cache and seedling survey, the relationship between acorn dispersal and seedlings distribution of Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica) and scatter hoarding rodents was investigated at the Northeast Forestry University Woodland of Harbin, China. Results indicated that main scatter hoarding rodents of acorns were...
Substrate influence on aromatic plant growth in extensive green roofs in a Mediterranean climate
13. Juni 2017
Abstract Green roofs have been described as technical solutions to overcome urban environmental problems, such as decrease of vegetation and stormwater management. In the present study, two pilot 20 m2 extensive green roofs were implemented in an urban Mediterranean region, at a 1st storey on a warehouse building structure, in order to test the adequacy of different substrates for supporting aromatic plants (Lavandula dentata, Helichrysum italicum, Satureja montana, Thymus caespititius and Thymus pseudolanuginosus). Experimental substrates included expanded clay and...
Variability of bumblebee communities (Apidae, Bombini) in urban green areas
07. Juni 2017
Abstract Based on current research the agglomerations are potentially desirable habitats for bumblebees. However, the relationship between the biodiversity of these bees and the green areas where they live is poorly understood. The aim of the study was to estimate the influence of green areas (ranging from 8 to 102 ha) of big cities on bumblebee species richness, composition, and the relative number of these insects. The studies were conducted within the administrative borders of the city of Wrocław (Poland) in 2011–2012 in 12 green areas such as parks, cemeteries and...
Urban habitats can affect body size and body condition but not immune response in amphibians
07. Juni 2017
Abstract Does urbanization affect key life-history traits in native organisms? Some studies show that urban areas reduce diversity in certain taxa, but there is little insight into how these environments affect physiological and ecological traits. Urban areas have distinct physical structure and ecological processes compared to original habitats. The environmental changes associated with urban areas can influence the costs and benefits of different traits and behaviors of local organisms. Some of these effects have been explored in groups such as birds, but we might...
Urban sacred natural sites – a call for research
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Urban sacred natural sites are not well documented or understood as potential repositories of biological diversity or as critical components of local and indigenous tradition and cultural patrimony in urban areas. Virtually all research and activity on sacred natural sites thus far has focused on sites in non-urban areas, and most interest in sacred sites in urban areas has been on human-built heritage and structures. Minimal attention has been given to sacred natural sites that are in urban areas. These urban sacred natural sites may be connected to mainstream...
Urban land cover decreases the occurrence of a wetland endemic mammal and its associated vegetation
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Urbanization and other land cover changes have been particularly detrimental to wetlands throughout the planet. One wetland specialist that may be sensitive to land cover changes surrounding wetlands is the round-tailed muskrat (Neofiber alleni; hereafter RTM). The RTM is a wetland obligate rodent that appears to have declined over the last half century and is a species of concern in Florida, where it is a near endemic. To determine if urbanization or other land cover influenced the distribution of RTMs we took a multi-scaled approach to examine the occurrence...
Sociality enhances birds’ capacity to deal with anthropogenic ecosystems
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Urban species often adjust their behavior to survive in urban environments, characterized by the proximity of humans, habitat fragmentation and heterogeneous, fluctuating ecological resources. Several hypotheses have been put forth to explain how species manage living in heterogeneous and complex anthropogenic habitats. The ability of individuals or species to beneficially modify their behaviors in response to changes in the environment has indeed been alternatively explained based on phylogenetic, adaptive, and ontogenic arguments. In this study we...
Experts’ versus laypersons’ perception of urban cultural ecosystem services
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Urban cultural ecosystem services are understood differently by experts and laypersons. Yet, unaccounted differences can lead to management problems for urban green spaces, as experts may recommend practices that do not meet the laypersons’ wishes. Qualitative research on the perception of cultural ecosystem services can be one tool to analyze these differences. We use expert and problem-centered interviews to assess differences in cultural ecosystem service perceptions for experts and laypersons in Berlin. Using an innovative approach, we combine inductive...
Determining urban exploiter status of a termite using genetic analysis
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Urban ecosystems are characterized by “urban exploiters”: species that thrive in the modified environment of cities. Few insects have been categorized as such, in part because they are usually considered as pests first, in part because many studies do not identify to species, and in part because many insects can survive in small vegetated areas within the urban matrix. Some termites may be prime examples of urban exploiters; Coptotermes species are rare in natural forests, but are abundant and major pests in urban areas. We investigated the genetic structure...
A citizen science survey: perceptions and attitudes of urban residents towards vervet monkeys
01. Juni 2017
Abstract A diversity of indigenous and alien wildlife persists in suburbia, and provides residents with the opportunity to experience wildlife. Suburban gardens may serve as refugia and foraging grounds for many primate species allowing them to populate within a largely urbanized landscape. However, this has led to the increasing human interactions with them, resulting in conflict. Our study investigated the perceptions of suburban residents towards urban vervet monkeys Cercopithecus aethiops pygerythrus within the Msunduzi and Ethekwini municipalities, KwaZulu-Natal...
Forest cover is important across multiple scales for bird communities in vacant lots
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Urban vacant lots can vary considerably in their vegetation structure, from dense, shrubby habitats to wooded remnant fragments that may provide habitat for a variety of birds. By identifying which features promote diverse bird communities, we can determine at which scale management practices should focus and the necessary habitat structure and composition features. We surveyed 150 vacant lots throughout Baltimore, Maryland for their bird communities, lot vegetation, and landscape-level forest cover. An ordination of the bird community indicated a response to a...
Trends in bird species richness, abundance and biomass along a tropical urbanization gradient
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Impacts of urbanization on biodiversity are commonly studied using urbanization gradients which provide a space-for-time substitution in estimating consequences of urban expansion. Rates of urbanization and human population growth are high in tropical countries of the developing world, which also hold most of the world’s biodiversity hot-spots, yet few studies have considered biodiversity trends along urban gradients in these regions. Bird communities across a gradient of nine sites in Uganda, from the city centre of Kampala to outlying rural locations, were...
Contrasting effects of urban habitat complexity on metabolic functional diversity and composition of litter and soil bacterial communities
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Functional diversity and composition of soil bacterial communities affect important soil biogeochemical processes. In natural and semi-natural ecosystems, variations in habitat complexity have been shown to significantly impact both litter and soil bacterial communities. However, this remains largely untested in urban ecosystems, where human management can lead to habitat complexity combinations unobserved in rural ecosystems. We established 10 research plots in low-complexity park, high-complexity park, and high-complexity remnant habitat types (n = 30) in...
Ecosystem services assessment of the urban forests of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Addis Ababa is a highland city with varied topography and landscape features. The mountains that surround the city are covered with urban forest of different types. These forests are providing various ecosystem services for the urban and peri-urban population of the city. Apart from surface temperature regulating function of the green spaces of Addis Ababa, no quantitative assessment of the carbon sequestration and soil protection ecosystem services provided by the urban forest has been conducted to date. The aim of this study was to assess selected ecosystem...
Coupling ecosystem services supply and human ecological demand to identify landscape ecological security pattern: A case study in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region, China
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Landscape ecological security pattern (LESP) can effectively safeguard urban ecological security, which is vital for urban sustainable development. Previous studies have not adequately considered the ability to fulfill people’s demand for ecosystem services when identifying sources of LESP. To address this gap, we sought to develop a more comprehensive approach coupling ecosystem services supply and human ecological demand to construct LESP for Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region. We proposed a new evaluation framework integrating ecosystem services importance...

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