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Urban Ecosystems 

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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...
Big data from tiny flies: patterns revealed from over 42,000 phorid flies (Insecta: Diptera: Phoridae) collected over one year in Los Angeles, California, USA
01. Juni 2017
Abstract The first ever large-scale inventory of an urban phorid fly fauna is described. Collections from 30 Malaise traps from urban Los Angeles over one year from the BioSCAN Project document the presence of 99 species from 42,480 specimens identified. Species accumulation curves predict 102–106 species actually occurring in this area. Collections are overwhelmingly dominated by the North American fungus feeding species Megaselia agarici, which accounts for about one quarter of all specimens identified. Percentage of M. agarici per site ranges from approximately 4...
Photosynthetic CO 2 uptake and carbon sequestration potential of deciduous and evergreen tree species in an urban environment
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Urban tree planting programmes are increasingly promoted as a way to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) mixing ratios. However, few studies have investigated the photosynthetic CO2 uptake potential of different urban tree species across seasons. In particular little is known about photosynthetic CO2 uptake in cities with a subtropical, oceanic climate where evergreen species are dominant. We addressed this shortcoming by measuring net photosynthetic rates of ten native and exotic tree species during different seasons and times of the day in Auckland, New...
Urban development in the southern Great Plains: effects of atmospheric NO x on the long-lived post oak tree ( Quercus stellata )
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Concentrated human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels have resulted in chronic nitrogen (N) additions to urban ecosystems. We predicted that urban development in North Texas (NTX; the largest “megapolitan” region in the Great Plains) would be positively correlated with atmospheric concentrations of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and with the leaf tissue quality (lower C:N ratio) and herbivory of the long-lived native tree, post oak (Quercus stellata). Data from air monitoring stations were used to calculate distance-weighted estimates of atmospheric NOx...
Ecological lands for conservation of vascular plant diversity in the urban environment
01. Juni 2017
Abstract Conservation of biodiversity in urban areas has become crucial to urban green area management. There are several legislative solutions for preservation of species and habitats in cities. One of them is ‘ecological lands’ – a low-restrictive form of protected areas in Poland. We aimed to assess their efficiency in vascular flora biodiversity conservation in the urban environment in Poznań (W Poland; 550,000 inhabitants). We hypothesized that ecological lands which cover <2% of the city area comprise over 50% of taxonomic diversity and over 90% of...
Habitat type, food resources, noise and light pollution explain the species composition, abundance and stability of a winter bird assemblage in an urban environment
01. Juni 2017
Abstract At present, urban areas cover almost 3% of the Earth’s terrestrial area, and this proportion is constantly increasing. Although urbanization leads to a decline in biodiversity, at the same time it creates extensive habitats that are exploited by an assemblage of organisms, including birds. The species composition and density of birds nesting in towns and cities are determined by the types of buildings, the structure and maturity of urban greenery, and habitat diversity. In contrast, the habitat traits shaping the community of birds wintering in urban areas...
The spatial genetic structure of the yellow-necked mouse in an urban environment – a recent invader vs. a closely related permanent inhabitant
01. Juni 2017
Abstract We analyse the genetic variability in the yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) population in the city of Warsaw, Poland, and its surroundings - a species that has begun to occupy the city only in the last 30 years. We also compare the genetic variability of this species with corresponding data collected in the same time and areas for another species - the striped field mouse (Apodemus agrarius). The results indicate a gradual decrease in genetic diversity and increase in relatedness in the population of A. flavicollis from non-urban locations towards...
Agricultural food resources and the foraging ecologies of American black ducks ( Anas rubripes ) and mallards ( Anas platyrhynchos ) at the northern limits of their winter ranges
24. Mai 2017
Abstract Atlantic Canada is the northern limit of the American black duck (Anas rubripes) wintering range, and more recently, the mallard (A. platyrhynchos) wintering range. Atlantic Canada has experienced considerable urban and agricultural development over the last century, and wintering black ducks and mallards appear to be using these habitats, in addition to traditional coastal habitat to survive the winters. This paper combines digestive tract content and stable isotope analysis to provide a comprehensive analysis of winter black duck and mallard diet in Atlantic...
Foraging in the tropics: relationships among species’ abundances, niche asymmetries and body condition in an urban avian assemblage
23. Mai 2017
Abstract Two main theories attempt to explain species coexistence: the neutral theory considers all the species as equivalents so biodiversity is mainly regarded as a function of total available resources (i.e. niche expansion), while the niche theory stresses the relevance of differences in niche use between species (i.e. niche packing). The relative importance of these forces is under discussion and has been largely tested in natural ecosystems. However, few studies have addressed this issue in tropical-urban environments. In this work we studied niche overlap...
Perceptions of severe storms, climate change, ecological structures and resiliency three years post-hurricane Sandy in New Jersey
17. Mai 2017
Abstract Global warming is leading to increased frequency and severity of storms that are associated with flooding, increasing the risk to urban, coastal populations. This study examined perceptions of the relationship between severe storms, sea level rise, climate change and ecological barriers by a vulnerable environmental justice population in New Jersey. Patients using New Jersey’s Federally Qualified Health Centers were interviewed after Hurricane [Superstorm] Sandy because it is essential to understand the perceptions of uninsured, underinsured, and economically...

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