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Urban Ecosystems 

Latest Results for Urban Ecosystems
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The ecology of littoral zone Chironomidae in four artificial, urban, tropical Malaysian lakes
14. September 2018
Abstract Urbanization is increasingly compromising lakes in the rapidly developing countries of tropical Southeast Asia. Greater understanding of the ecology of tropical lakes is essential in order to determine the best ways to protect and manage them. A comparison was made of the species richness, abundance and diets of Chironomidae in two forest lakes (both created by damming rivers - one in an urban forest reserve, one adjacent to an urban area) and two urban park lakes (ex- tin mine lakes) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 19 species of chironomids were recorded (10...
Predicting development preferences for fishing sites among diverse anglers
10. September 2018
Abstract Shifting demographics among angling communities mean that managers may need different amenities at fishing sites to satisfy new constituents. Anglers approach recreational fishing from diverse demographic and cultural perspectives which influence the sites they access and utilize. Understanding linkages between landscape preferences at fishing sites and demographics in shaping those preferences can improve plans for providing better fishing experiences for diverse constituents. We began addressing this need with a survey of 811 resident anglers in North Carolina...
Breeding performance of an apex predator, the peregrine falcon, across urban and rural landscapes
08. September 2018
Abstract Urban environments present wildlife with major challenges and yet surprising numbers of species have colonised towns and cities globally. Despite the growing realisation that urban centres can be important habitats for wildlife, why some species do better than others in urban environments remains poorly understood. Here, we compare the breeding performance of an apex predator, the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), in urban and rural environments, and test whether variation in reproductive success between and within environments is driven by prey. Historical...
Variation in age, body size, and reproductive traits among urban and rural amphibian populations
07. September 2018
Abstract Although amphibians use human-created habitats in urban landscapes, few studies have investigated the quality of these habitats. To assess habitat quality of stormwater management ponds and adjacent urban uplands for wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) and American toads (Anaxyrus americanus), we compared life history characteristics between populations breeding across an urbanization gradient. Specifically, we compared body size, ages of breeding adults, and female reproductive investment among urban, suburban, and rural populations in Baltimore County, Maryland...
Improving confidence in tree species selection for challenging urban sites: a role for leaf turgor loss
06. September 2018
Abstract High species diversity is argued to be the most important requisite for a resilient urban forest. In spite of this, there are many cities in the northern hemisphere that have very limited species diversity within their tree population. Consequently, there is an immense risk to urban canopy cover, if these over-used species succumb to serious pests or pathogens. Recognition of this should motivate the use of less commonly used species. Analysis of plant traits, such as the leaf water potential at turgor loss (ΨP0), can provide useful insights into a species...
Exploring structural habitat heterogeneity in sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) for urban biodiversity support
28. August 2018
Abstract Implementation of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) as part of cities’ transition towards climate resilience encompasses unique opportunities to enhance urban nature qualities. SUDS include individual elements integrated in the urban landscape, e.g. rain gardens or wet basins, which are usually constructed with low structural heterogeneity. Structural heterogeneity of habitats is, however, associated with a high degree of biodiversity. This study explored potentials of habitat heterogeneity enhancement in SUDS using structural heterogeneity as a proxy...
A prickly problem: developing a volunteer-friendly tool for monitoring populations of a terrestrial urban mammal, the West European hedgehog ( Erinaceus europaeus )
27. August 2018
Abstract Across Europe, hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) appear to be in decline in both urban and rural landscapes. Current methods used to monitor urban populations are, however, associated with several potential limitations. In this study, we conducted hedgehog footprint-tunnel surveys in 219 residential gardens across Reading, UK between May–September in 2013 and/or 2014; gardens were surveyed for five continuous days. Single-species occupancy models were used to investigate factors influencing hedgehog occupancy and two-species occupancy models were used to estimate...
The perfect lawn: exploring neighborhood socio-cultural drivers for insect pollinator habitat
27. August 2018
Abstract In the United States, residential yards are typically overlooked for biodiversity conservation, yet they account for a significant portion of urban green space. Yard vegetation can serve as valuable habitat patches for insect pollinator populations in cities, providing important foraging and nesting resources. Based on long-term native bee sampling data, we investigate the social and cultural drivers shaping front yard vegetation composition and configuration at two study sites with consistently low native bee species diversity and abundance. We employ...
Modelling of socio-ecological connectivity. The rural-urban network in the surroundings of Madrid (Central Spain)
24. August 2018
Abstract As most of Europe’s metropolitan landscapes grow, a change is occurring in their surrounding rural environment. The consequences thereof mainly involve losses of traditional land uses and changes in the socioecomic structures of the local population. The lack of coupling ‘urban society-countryside’ can be considered to constitute a driving force of this process. The present paper focuses upon the rural-urban network around the metropolis of Madrid (Central Spain). We developed a quantitative model to explain the socio-ecological rural-urban linkages, taking...
Moving targets: determinants of nutritional preferences and habitat use in an urban ant community
23. August 2018
Abstract Urban environments are often associated with reduced biodiversity, presumably because they are typically more fragmented, warmer, and drier than nearby non-urban environments. However, urban landscapes offer significant complexity that have allowed some taxonomic groups to flourish. Understanding how urban-exploiting animals navigate this spatiotemporal heterogeneity is important given the continued global urban land expansion. Here, we examined the factors influencing resource-use in an urban community of ants, which represent a widespread and important taxon in...
Alien plant species do have a clear preference for different land uses within urban environments
16. August 2018
Abstract Since neophytes can become invasive in the future, untangling their ecological preferences is of paramount importance, especially in urban areas where they represent a substantial proportion of the local flora. Studies exploring alien species assemblages in urban environments are however scarce. This study aims to unravel alien plant species preferences for five urban land uses (densely built-up areas, open built-up areas, industrial areas, broadleaved urban forests, and agricultural areas and small landscape elements). We took the city of Brussels as a model, in...
Non-native plants are a seasonal pollen source for native honeybees in suburban ecosystems
15. August 2018
Abstract In urban and suburban ecosystems, biodiversity can depend on various non-native plant species, including crop plants, garden plants and weeds. Non-native plants may help to maintain biodiversity by providing a source of forage for pollinators in these ecosystems. However, the contribution of plants in urban and agricultural areas to ecosystem services has often been underestimated in biodiversity assessments. In this study, we investigated the pollen sources of native honeybees (Apis cerana) in an arboretum containing native trees and urban and agricultural plants...
Increased differentiation between individuals, but no genetic isolation from adjacent rural individuals in an urban red squirrel population
14. August 2018
Abstract Whether or not individuals in cities and adjacent rural areas form separate populations depends on the origin of urbanized individuals. The rural individuals may have simply gradually invaded the city. Alternatively, the urbanization depended on arrival of individuals with specific adaptations for city life. A population within the city could also remain separated from adjacent rural populations if there are physical or behavioural dispersal barriers lowering the possibility of genetic exchange between individuals. All this is linked to dispersal behaviour of the...
Functional connectivity in urban landscapes promoted by Ramphastos toco (Toco Toucan) and its implications for policy making
02. August 2018
Abstract The scarcity of green areas in urban landscapes hinders connectivity among sites reducing the flux of organisms and seed dispersal. Ramphastos toco is an effective plant disperser in tropical landscapes, playing an important role in conserving plant connectivity. In this study we combined two methods of landscape connectivity analysis, in a way not yet explored, to assess the potential contribution of Ramphastos toco to enhancing connectivity among urban vegetation patches. We used spatial modeling techniques to evaluate least cost routes, or those that...
Correction to: Wellbeing and urban living: nurtured by nature
01. August 2018
Table 3 contained an error in how the degrees of freedom are displayed. The comma separating the model (e.g., 1) and error (e.g., 121) has been deleted in the Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney columns. Where the degrees of freedom should read “1,121”, for example, it displays as “1121”. The corrected table follows.
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...