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Urban Ecosystems 

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Visions of resilience: lessons from applying a digital democracy tool in New York’s Jamaica Bay watershed
20. September 2017
Abstract Resilience to extreme weather events and other sudden changes is an issue facing many communities in the early twenty-first century. Planning to respond to disasters is particularly complicated in densely inhabited, multi-jurisdictional urban social-ecological systems like the watershed of Jamaica Bay, a large urbanized estuary on the south side of New York City. This area contains parklands managed by New York City, the National Park Service, and other agencies, four sewage treatment plants, three former landfills, and urban and suburban communities, all of...
Wellbeing and urban living: nurtured by nature
18. September 2017
Abstract In recent decades, empirical evidence has demonstrated that nature can enable urban environments to support human wellbeing. Research into links between nature and human wellbeing is often carried out with one wellbeing index or in single locations, which can limit our understanding of findings. To further this work, we deployed an online survey to residents of the two most-populous cities in both Australia and New Zealand. The survey measured self-reported wellbeing via three indices used widely in the literature: general wellbeing (WHO-5), personal wellbeing...
Impact of urbanisation and agriculture on the diet of fruit bats
12. September 2017
Abstract The expansion of cities and agricultural plantations have unpredictable impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Yet some species are capable of tolerating anthropogenic impacts and continue to provide ecological services in highly disturbed landscapes. The objective of this study was to use DNA barcoding to identify digested plant materials and seeds in the faeces of frugivorous bats (Cynopterus brachyotis) and investigate whether (1) C. brachyotis in urban and agricultural areas exploit cultivated and exotic plants as a novel food resource and as a...
Quantifying the synergistic effects of impervious surface and drought on radial tree growth
11. September 2017
Abstract The global trend of increasing urbanization is generating isolated patches of vegetation that could be strongly influenced by the surrounding landscape. Simultaneously, many of these urban forests will be exposed to the increasing temperatures and higher risk of drought conditions brought up by climate change. The heat island effect associated with an increase in impervious surface cover and its influence on urban vegetation has been document mostly for large urban centers. However, how the effects of urbanization may interact with tree resilience to drought have...
Feeding, growth, and trophic position of redbreast sunfish ( Lepomis auritus ) in watersheds of differing land cover in the lower Piedmont, USA
02. September 2017
Abstract One pervasive outcome in the urbanization of an ecosystem is the proliferation and numerical dominance of select tolerant organisms that are often native to the system yet with reduced relative abundances in less-disturbed conditions. As a result of high variation in environmental conditions between urbanized and non-urbanized systems, it is possible that the functional role of a ubiquitous organism is context dependent. Such is the case for redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) in small streams in many parts of the Piedmont of the southeastern USA. To investigate...
Signal information of bird song changes in human-dominated landscapes
29. August 2017
Abstract Communication systems rely upon specific social contexts and environments that permit effective transmission, and thus, are particularly vulnerable to disruption by anthropogenic disturbance. The acoustic environments of cities may affect conspecific interactions by altering the transmission or reception of song in ways that might ultimately influence fitness, however, the evolutionary and ecological consequences of altered songs remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the relationship between bird song attributes and fitness metrics would be...
Ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) communities on green roofs in Switzerland: synthesis and perspectives
26. August 2017
Abstract Green roofs have recently gained recognition for their potential contribution to urban ecosystems by providing, among other services, habitat for plants and animals, and stepping stones for mobile organisms, thereby enhancing permeability among habitat patches across densely built cities. In Switzerland, investigations over the past 20 years on more than one hundred distinct green roofs across six cities have provided an unprecedented dataset on ground beetles, albeit with information that is scattered across unpublished reports and local databases. We present...
Erratum to: Predicting tree species richness in urban forests
01. August 2017
Predicting tree species richness in urban forests
01. August 2017
Abstract There has been an increasing interest in urban forests and the levels of biodiversity they contain. Currently there are no spatially explicit maps of tree species richness in urban areas. This research tests and identifies GIS and remote sensing metrics (climate, area, productivity, three-dimensional structure) hypothesized to be associated with species richness in native forests and identifies methods that can be applied to predict and map tree species richness in cities. We quantified tree species richness, floristic composition, and structure in 28 1-ha plots...
Horizontal and vertical island biogeography of arthropods on green roofs: a review
01. August 2017
Abstract From an ecological perspective, urban green roofs can be viewed as green islands embedded in an urban matrix. Island biogeography theory suggests that species richness on an island is the outcome of dynamic equilibrium between immigration and extinction. Immigration is affected by the size of an island and distance of an island from a colonizing source. In the context of green roofs, building height and horizontal distance from green areas can potentially be a limiting factor for many species. Here, we considered two distance components of green roofs...
Habitat richness and tree species richness of roundabouts: effects on site selection and the prevalence of arboreal caterpillars
01. August 2017
Abstract This study examined the relationship between the habitat and tree species richness of roundabouts and the abundance and species richness of tree-dwelling caterpillars, and thus the potential of urban roundabouts to support breeding populations. Total tree species number on sites was related to an increase in caterpillar abundance and a greater number of habitats was associated with a higher number of caterpillar species. An increase in the total number of trees was not correlated with a greater abundance of tree-feeding Lepidoptera; nor were native trees found...
A balancing act in urban social-ecology: human appreciation, ponds and dragonflies
01. August 2017
Abstract Green spaces in cities provide cultural ecosystems services (CES) such as nature connection, wildlife interaction and aesthetic appreciation which can improve aspects of human well-being. Recognising these benefits, researchers are now examining the complex relationship between humans and nature in urban social-ecology. Most studies investigate people’s appreciation and valuation of different green space features and their contribution to urban biodiversity. Recommendations arising from such studies are best practices to achieve a balance between landscape...
Evaluating the effectiveness of urban trees to mitigate storm water runoff via transpiration and stemflow
01. August 2017
Abstract Many cities in the Eastern United States are working to increase urban tree cover due to the hydrological services that trees provide, including the interception, storage and transpiration of water that would otherwise enter sewer systems. Despite the understanding that trees benefit urban ecosystems, there have been few studies that address the underlying physiology of different urban trees with regard to their capacity to take up water, particularly following rain events. We monitored the sap flow of nine species of trees in urban parks and linked sap flow to...
Plant-mycorrhizal fungi associations along an urbanization gradient: implications for tree seedling survival
01. August 2017
Abstract Mycorrhizal fungi symbioses can be critical determining if established seedlings survive or not. Currently, in remnant forests, plants and their fungal symbionts are exposed to varied anthropomorphic effects related to urbanization, however, little is known about their impact on this association. We investigated the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and tree seedling survival along an urbanization gradient. We planted three species of temperate tree seedlings (Acer rubrum, Carya ovata, and Quercus rubra) in three landscapes: urban, suburban, and rural. We...
Analysis of environmental flow requirements for macroinvertebrates in a creek affected by urban drainage (Prague metropolitan area, Czech Republic)
01. August 2017
Abstract The habitat suitability index and environmental flow requirements were assessed for ten species of macroinvertebrates in a 2 km length section of the urban Botič creek (average flow 0.4 m3 s−1) in Prague. Botič creek has been affected by two combined sewer overflows (CSO). Spring, summer and fall seasonal environmental flow requirements were identified using the Physical HABitat SIMulation System (PHABSIM) approach for the whole macroinvertebrate community: Spring – optimal flow 0.32–0.38 m3 s−1, minimal flow 0.20–0.21 m3 s−1 and maximal...
Changes in the representation of alien taxa in ruderal vegetation of an urban ecosystem over 50 years. A case study from Malacky city, Slovakia, Central Europe
01. August 2017
Abstract This paper analyses changes in the representation of alien taxa in ruderal vegetation of a model urban ecosystem. Two datasets of phytosociological relevés of ruderal communities from the area of Malacky (a city in southwestern Slovakia) were analysed. The relevés were recorded 50 years apart, the old relevés were recorded in the years 1954–1969 and the more recent relevés in the years 2014–2015. The average values of percentage number and percentage cover of archaeophytes and neophytes as groups in old and more recent datasets were compared. We also...
Seed limitation and lack of downed wood, not invasive species, threaten conifer regeneration in an urban forest
01. August 2017
Abstract Urban forests provide valuable ecosystem services, but their long-term viability is often threatened by low tree recruitment due to seed and/or microsite limitation. Distinguishing between these two causes of low recruitment has important management implications, but has been little studied in urban environments. We tested for seed and microsite limitation in an urban forested park in Seattle, Washington, USA by adding conifer tree seeds and seedlings to experimental plots in which we manipulated microsite conditions by removing invasive ivy (Hedera spp.) and...
Habitat rehabilitation in urban waterways: the ecological potential of bank protection structures for benthic invertebrates
01. August 2017
Abstract Compensating for the adverse ecological impacts of waterway development and improving their ecological functioning to achieve good ecological potential (GEP) have become mandatory within the European Union (EU). The technical rehabilitation measures presented here aim to functionally minimize the hydraulic impacts of navigation on aquatic biota in highly urbanized waterways. Their ecological functioning and potential to enhance biodiversity locally was assessed by comparing their macro-invertebrate community composition with nearby non-restored sites...
Seasonal patterns of urban bird diversity in a Mediterranean coastal city: the positive role of open green spaces
01. August 2017
Abstract Urbanization causes rapid changes in the landscape and land use, exerting a significant pressure on bird communities. The effect of urbanization on bird diversity has been widely investigated in many cities worldwide; however, our knowledge on urban bird communities from the eastern Mediterranean region is very scarce. In this context, we aimed to investigate the effect of the different land-cover types on bird species richness and abundance in a densely built coastal Mediterranean city (Patras, Greece) during the breeding and wintering seasons. We sampled the...
Application of the experimental watershed approach to advance urban watershed precipitation/discharge understanding
01. August 2017
Abstract Reliable methods are required to provide the detailed hydrologic information necessary to improve management of water resources and aquatic ecosystems in developing/urbanizing watersheds. A case study was implemented in a representative 230 km2 mixed-use, urbanizing watershed to advance precipitation/discharge understanding. Precipitation and streamflow were monitored in five sub-watersheds (nested-scale experimental watershed study design), partitioned by dominant land use type. Data were collected at 30-min intervals through the 2009 to 2015 water years...

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