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Urban Ecosystems 

Latest Results for Urban Ecosystems
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Effects of ground surface permeability on the growth of urban linden trees
01. August 2018
Abstract Street trees are an important part of urban vegetation due to their provisioning of different types of ecosystem services such as local climate regulation and contribution to aesthetical and recreational values. In order to provide these services, urban trees need to endure many stress factors not present in natural environments, such as the widespread use of impervious surfaces in the vicinity of street trees. However, few studies have evaluated the effect of this potential stress factor on urban tree growth. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate...
Energy crop production in an urban area: a comparison of habitat types and land use forms targeting economic benefits and impact on species diversity
01. August 2018
Abstract In urban areas, the potential of biomass production is rarely utilized, although many biomass sources are located in cities, ranging from road margins to public parks. There is, however, increasing interest in these potential biomass sources, as they are close to consumers and provide options to reduce maintenance costs of urban green areas. We analyzed the costs and benefits of utilizing biomass, and compared it to the biodiversity maintained on 17 urban land use forms the Ruhr Metropolitan Area (Germany). Economic costs and benefits were reflected by...
Lentic and lotic odonate communities and the factors that influence them in urban versus rural landscapes
01. August 2018
Abstract Habitat alteration via urbanization has very different effects on even closely related taxa. Most research investigating the ecological effects of urbanization has focused on birds or mammals, resulting in a relatively poor understanding of how the species richness and community composition of invertebrates may change. We quantified differences in species richness of adult odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) at lentic and lotic sites in urban and rural landscapes, and we examined environmental factors that might drive the differences in community composition...
Urban park area and age determine the richness of native and exotic plants in parks of a Latin American city: Santiago as a case study
01. August 2018
Abstract Plant diversity and composition in urban parks is determined by socio-economics, environmental, and ecological drivers. These drivers give rise to urban spaces with unique compositions of flora, consisting of planted and spontaneous species. The present study aimed to determine the contribution of native and exotic species in urban parks of a Latin American city, and to assess the related role of park area, age and socio-economic status. We also evaluated administration type (public or private) and the effect of environmental factors on plant richness. We...
Hydrology of the Brooklyn Grange, an urban rooftop farm
01. August 2018
Abstract Intensive agriculture is an emerging theme of green roof technology. Production of affordable, nutritious vegetables for local consumption and stormwater management are among the ecosystem services emphasized in studies of rooftop farming. However, intensive vegetable production requires irrigation, which can reduce stormwater retention, and there is little empirical data from full-scale operational rooftop farms. In this paper, we report the hydrologic performance of the Brooklyn Grange Navy Yard Farm, a 0.61-ha rooftop farm atop an 11-story building in New...
City parks vs. natural areas - is it possible to preserve a natural level of bee richness and abundance in a city park?
01. August 2018
Abstract Urbanisation is an expansive process and a majority of insects live in human-modified areas. At the same time, a decrease in pollinator species richness and abundance has recently been observed in Europe, which in turn may have serious ecological and economic consequences. This study investigates the abundance, species richness and functional traits of wild bees in urban city parks in comparison to natural areas. The aim of this research was to assess the potential conservation values of urban green areas for bees. The present study demonstrates that a large...
Floral morphology as the main driver of flower-feeding insect occurrences in the Paris region
01. August 2018
Abstract Through the rapid expansion worldwide of impervious areas and habitat fragmentation, urbanization has strong consequences that must be understood to efficiently manage biodiversity. We studied the effects of urbanization on flower-feeding insects by using data from a citizen science program in the Parisian region. We analysed the occurrence of insects from 46 different families on flowers of different morphologies, using landscape indices in buffer areas from a 100-m to a 4000-m radius around 1194 sampled sites. Our aims were to determine (i) how the proportion...
Spatial and genetic distribution of a north American termite, Reticulitermes flavipes , across the landscape of Paris
01. August 2018
Abstract Urbanization often negatively impacts biological diversity. Some organisms, however, have traits that are preadapted to urban environments and thus may thrive. Reticulitermes flavipes is one such organism. Indigenous to the Eastern US, it has been introduced into multiple countries. In France, R. flavipes causes major damage to buildings. Although Paris is one of the country’s most infested cities, the factors determining R. flavipes’ distribution and propagation are poorly understood. Using data on termite occurrence, termite genetics, and environmental...
Urbanization impacts on land snail community composition
01. August 2018
Abstract Urbanization has tremendous impacts on most native species. This is especially true in land snails, which are surprisingly understudied organisms. Due to their low mobility and dispersal potential, land snails are valuable indicators of ecosystem disturbance. For this study, land snails were collected in 54 city parks along an urban gradient to understand impacts of urbanization on snail communities. Sampled parks include small extensively landscaped downtown parks, neighborhood and community parks, district parks, and large nature parks, each with variable...
Rainfall interception capacity of tree species used in urban afforestation
01. August 2018
Abstract Afforestation is inserted in the urban environment and interferes directly in the surface runoff. In order to quantify the rainfall interception by tree species, an experiment was carried out in the city of Uruaçu, Goiás, Brazil, with the four most common tree species in the urban afforestation of the region. The species chosen were the Mangifera indica (mango tree), the Caesalpinia peltophoroides (sibipiruna tree), the Pachira aquatica (munguba tree) and the Licania tomentosa (oiti). In order to register precipitation, ten pluviographs were used. They are...
Socioeconomic and ecological perceptions and barriers to urban tree distribution and reforestation programs
01. August 2018
Abstract Tree planting and reforestation initiatives in urban and peri-urban areas often use tree distribution or “giveaway” programs as a strategy to increase tree cover and subsequent benefits. However, the effectiveness of these programs in terms of increasing overall tree cover and providing benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities has been little studied. We assess these programs by exploring community participation in, and barriers to, an urban tree distribution program in Fort Lauderdale, United States and the role socioeconomic background and...
Birds biodiversity in urban and periurban forests: environmental determinants at local and landscape scales
01. August 2018
Abstract A significant decline in biodiversity is associated with the current and upcoming degree of urbanization. A challenging strategy to address this conflict is to make urban growth compatible with biodiversity protection and in this context urban parks can play a crucial role. Urban systems are highly dynamic and complex human-shaped ecosystems, where the relationship between species and environment may be altered and make the preservation of biodiversity within them a challenging goal. In this study, we analysed how different environmental features affect bird...
Urbanization-related distribution patterns and habitat-use by the marine mesopredator, giant Pacific octopus ( Enteroctopus dofleini )
01. August 2018
Abstract Urbanization is a process that heavily alters marine and terrestrial environments, though terrestrial urban ecosystems have been studied far more intensively. Terrestrial studies suggest that urbanization can facilitate mesopredators by enhancing food and shelter resources and reducing predation pressure from apex consumers. This in turn has considerable consequences for ecological communities. We evaluated spatial distribution patterns and habitat-use of the marine mesopredator, giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), relative to terrestrial...
A systematic review of the relationship between urban agriculture and biodiversity
01. August 2018
Abstract Urban agriculture is a unique form of agriculture that can provide fresh, local produce for urban residents, and may benefit biodiversity by decreasing the need to expand agriculture into natural areas as well as enhancing biodiversity in urban areas. However, although urban agriculture is also often cited as promoting biodiversity in urban areas, the extent of empirical evidence for such claims has not been studied. Here we systematically review the relationship between urban agriculture and biodiversity in the scientific literature. We strictly define urban...
Ichthyofauna diet changes in response to urbanization: the case of upper Paranapanema River basin (Brazil)
01. August 2018
Abstract Alterations in stream environments can alter fish food availability, but there is little research data related to the impacts of urbanization on fish diets in tropical streams. Thus, we sought to compare the diet of ten fish species in urbanized and non-urbanized streams reaches. Fish stomach contents were obtained for four urban and five non-urban stream reaches from two medium-sized cities. We verified the similarity of diet composition from urbanized/non-urbanized streams. In-stream features mainly related to the substrate highlighted a perturbation gradient...
Humans and urban development mediate the sympatry of competing carnivores
01. August 2018
Abstract Humans can profoundly shape animal community dynamics, but such effects have rarely been evaluated for terrestrial carnivores. Humans affect carnivores in both spatial and temporal dimensions via the chance of human encounter and alteration of the landscape through urban development. We investigated three hypotheses regarding how humans mediate the sympatry of larger, dominant carnivores with their smaller, subordinate counterparts. We tested these hypotheses by examining the spatio-temporal dynamics of a dominant carnivore (coyote Canis latrans) and its...
Landscape urbanization threatens plant phylogenetic diversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
01. August 2018
Abstract Urbanization causes species loss around the world, but its effects on phylogenetic diversity are poorly known in tropical forests. Using a patch-landscape approach in an urbanizing region of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, we tested whether the increase in landscape urbanization reduces plant species density, phylogenetic richness and divergence, and increases the relatedness among co-occurring individuals and species. We assessed plant responses to urbanization in adult (diameter at breast height > 10 cm) and sapling communities (2.5–10 cm diameter...
Bird and mammal use of vernal pools along an urban development gradient
13. Juli 2018
Abstract Vernal pools in the northeastern US are of conservation concern primarily because of their role as habitat for specialized pool-breeding amphibians, but their use by birds and mammals may also be of interest, especially from the perspective of the impact of urbanization. We describe camera-trapped wildlife (CTW) at 38 vernal pools along an urban development gradient in greater Bangor, Maine, USA. We detected 20 mammal and 39 bird taxa (29 contacted pool water; 39 detected at >1 site). Land cover type within 1000 m (%), within-pool vegetation (%), and...
Urbanization alters fear behavior in black-capped chickadees
11. Juli 2018
Abstract Urban landscapes contain a multitude of novel sensory stimuli, and urban dwelling animals, such as songbirds living near human dwellings, must quickly learn how to respond to these unfamiliar cues. When exposure reveals that a stimulus is associated with a cost, fearful behavior should increase. Conversely, neophobic fear should decrease when negative outcomes do not regularly follow the stimulus. Because exposure to anthropogenic stimuli is more common in birds that inhabit urbanized landscapes, their fear response patterns should more accurately reflect the...
Depleted suburban house sparrow Passer domesticus population not limited by food availability
11. Juli 2018
Abstract Little is known about the environmental factors that limit the demography and abundance of wild vertebrates in highly modified urban environments. The House Sparrow Passer domesticus is a globally widespread species whose urban populations have recently undergone substantial declines particularly in Europe. The environmental drivers of these declines remain unknown. In a previous study we showed that invertebrate availability during the breeding season limited reproductive success but not population size in a suburban sparrow population. In this study we test...