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Urban Ecosystems 

Latest Results for Urban Ecosystems
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Intraspecific trait variation in grassland plant communities along urban-rural gradients
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Trait-based approaches have been successfully used to demonstrate how the modified ecological conditions within urban areas filter plant species within plant communities. However, there is growing evidence that trait measurement in situ may improve knowledge of the ecological mechanisms underlying such filtering processes. This study aimed to determine the relative contribution of inter- and intraspecific trait variation in explaining the influence of urban-rural gradients on grassland plant communities. Twenty-one stations were sampled along an urban-rural...
Six decades of urban green change in a neotropical city: a case study of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
01. Juni 2019
Abstract The process of expansion of human settlements commonly occurs without proper urban planning, which can directly affect green areas located within cities and adjacent areas. This study focuses on: (1) a spatiotemporal analysis to quantify the growth of the city of Xalapa (1950s to 2010s), (2) changes in woody vegetation cover within the boundaries of the city, and (3) land use and landscape changes and urban sprawl by decade from the 1980s to 2010s. To achieve this, we used digital images (i.e., ortho-photos, SPOT images), which were classified and integrated into...
Estimating density of an elusive carnivore in urban areas: use of spatially explicit capture-recapture models for city-dwelling bobcats
01. Juni 2019
Abstract An important first step in managing urban carnivores or the habitat in which they live to reduce risk of conflicts with humans is to understand their basic ecology and population dynamics. Traditional density estimators may be inappropriate in urban areas because of extensive areas of impermeable development but new techniques that include spatial structure could be useful within large urban metropolitan areas. Yet to date, these techniques have largely remained untested. We evaluated whether spatially explicit capture-recapture models (SECR) could provide a...
Spatial ecology of urban striped skunks ( Mephitis mephitis ) in the Northern Great Plains: a framework for future oral rabies vaccination programs
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Few studies have investigated the ecology of urban striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) despite their role as a primary rabies vector species paired with an ability to thrive in these landscapes. Information on home range, nightly movements, and habitat selection, is important for rabies management planning regarding the placement of oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits and for management of skunk populations more generally. Our aim was to obtain baseline ecological information with an emphasis on spatial ecology of urban striped skunks in the Northern Great Plains...
Hormonal adjustments to urban conditions: stress hormone levels in urban and rural populations of Apodemus agrarius
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Animals’ adaptation to life in cities is a widely studied issue in ecology. One such adaptation is the adjustment of stress response to new conditions and anthropogenic disturbances. There are various examples of such adjustments in urban birds, but the stress response of non-avian species has rarely been investigated. We studied an urban and a rural population of a small mammal, the striped field mouse Apodemus agrarius. We compared baseline corticosterone (CORT) concentration in faecal samples from mice, using ELISA tests with antibodies for this hormone...
Woody species and trait diversity-functional relations of green spaces in Kumasi, Ghana
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Urban biodiversity is essential to creating resilient and sustainable cities. Nevertheless, there is paucity of data on the characterization of microhabitat effects on species/trait diversity and diversity-functional relationships in urban landscapes especially in developing countries. The objectives of this study were to; 1) analyze tree species diversity and composition of urban green space (UGS) types and urban zones, (2) describe the life history diversity of UGS types and urban zones and 3) examine the links between species and life history trait diversity...
Distribution of soft bottom macrobenthic communities in tropical marinas of Singapore
01. Juni 2019
Abstract The establishment of marinas alters physico-chemical conditions and affects distribution of resident epibiotic and pelagic communities along coastal areas. However, information on the soft bottom macrobenthos within and around these boating facilities in the tropics is limited. Here, we investigated if macrobenthic communities differed among three representative tropical marinas, and whether the communities inhabiting the marinas differed from those outside the marinas. Ekman grab sampling of the soft bottom sediment at three Singapore marinas – Raffles...
White-footed mouse ( Peromyscus leucopus ) habitat selection and Amur honeysuckle ( Lonicera maackii ) canopy use in an urban forest
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Urban parks undergo significant changes in their community composition and habitat structure as a result of anthropogenic land-use changes. Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) dominates invaded urban parks and changes the vegetative community. This study examines the impact of L. maackii on white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) foraging behavior and habitat selection. Detailed vegetative and structural surveys allowed for analysis of habitat use. A capture-mark-recapture study was conducted in both the terrestrial and arboreal environment. We found that P...
Ungulates in the city: light pollution and open habitats predict the probability of roe deer occurring in an urban environment
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Although large and medium-sized herbivorous mammals avoid urbanized areas, they have recently begun to colonize towns and cities. In general, ungulates continue to avoid the centres of urban areas, and utilize mainly their thinly built-up outskirts. While extension of urban development is preventing ungulates from penetrating the urban landscape, the influence of noise and light pollution on the occurrence of mammalian herbivores is still poorly understood. Hence, we investigated the hypothesis that habitat availability shapes the distribution of roe deer...
Wild bees and urban agriculture: assessing pollinator supply and demand across urban landscapes
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Growing interest in urban agriculture has increased demand for pollination services. Most studies map pollination supply broadly, and do not consider the impacts of fine-scale urban land-use practices on the dynamics of pollination delivery, leaving a critical gap in our understanding of the pollinator supply-demand balance in urban landscapes. This study demonstrates a spatially-explicit framework, using Iowa City, IA (USA) as the case study region, for assessing the capacity of urban ecosystems to produce pollinator services in support of demand from urban...
Investigating domestic gardens’ densities, spatial distribution and types among city districts
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Domestic gardens are the major contributor to greening the spatial plan in some compact cities. Irbid, Jordan is a densely populated city that has limited and deteriorating natural vegetation and is located in an arid to semi-arid climate. We investigated the density of domestic gardens (proportion of gardened residential units) in Irbid city and explored some properties of domestic gardens. The research focused on the city domestic garden types, their distribution, gardens proportions and association to household economic status and parcel area. Four hundred...
Can opportunistic citizen sightings assist in the monitoring of an elusive, crepuscular mammal in an urban environment?
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Central to appropriate wildlife management is an effective monitoring program. Monitoring wildlife in urban environments offers unique challenges in the form of barriers, prohibited access and crime. It also, however, provides a unique opportunity to enlist residential communities in collecting data on distribution of a number of species. Opportunistic sightings data has its flaws, including the lack of data on species absences, and unequal sampling effort. Yet these data may still provide reliable information on the distribution of species and complement...
Contrasting homogenization patterns of plant and collembolan communities in urban vegetable gardens
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Urban biotic homogenization is one of the foremost challenges for conservation of biodiversity in urban green areas. Urban gardening is a common practice in many industrialised and developing countries. The ability of urban vegetable gardens to support biodiversity, however, has yet to be studied in depth. To investigate the responses of flora and soil fauna to urbanization, we surveyed the taxonomic and functional composition of plant and collembolan communities, in addition to soil parameters, in 15 urban vegetable gardens across three large French cities...
Assessment of critical habitat for common snapping turtles ( Chelydra serpentina ) in an urbanized coastal wetland
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Critical habitats such as nesting areas and overwintering sites are specific areas used by organisms to carry out important life functions. In many urbanized centers, critical habitats of at-risk species have often become degraded and/or fragmented because of human activities. Such is the case for the population of common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) in Cootes Paradise Marsh, a highly urbanized ecosystem located at the western tip of Lake Ontario. In addition to these threats, mortality from collisions with cars on a four-lane highway at the western...
Behavioral shifts with urbanization may facilitate biological invasion of a widespread lizard
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Understanding how novel environmental conditions presented by urbanization affect the ecology and behavior of species is an important component of global change biology. Behavior is the first way in which organisms respond to novel conditions. We investigated differences in habitat use, movement, and social behavior of invasive adult male Cuban brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) in natural and urban areas in Miami, FL. We observed that urban lizards used broader perches and frequented more artificial human-made substrates (e.g. walls) than lizards in a natural forest...
The influence of land cover and within-pool characteristics on larval, froglet, and adult wood frogs along a rural to suburban gradient
01. Juni 2019
Abstract Urbanization is known to extirpate many species, but far less is known about how suburbanization may affect amphibian populations. We studied wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) to test the effects of site characteristics (within-pool conditions and land cover indicative of suburbanization within 1000 m) and larval morphology on newly emerged froglets and post-breeding males across a suburbanization gradient in 15 pools in greater Bangor, Maine, USA. We raised field-captured larvae in microcosms and examined froglet morphology and locomotor performance at...
Disentangling an avian assemblages’ evolutionary and functional history in a Chihuahuan desert city
23. Mai 2019
Abstract Urban green spaces have been shown to be important hotspots of biodiversity in cities of temperate and humid/semihumid tropical ecoregions. Nonetheless, whether this pattern applies to urban ecosystems of desert environments has been rarely studied. Temperature, precipitation, vegetation complexity, human density, and presence of invasive species could act as urban filters limiting the incidence of desert-adapted species into cities. Such effects could be reshaping biotic communities, favoring habitat generalist species in human-dominated environments. In this...
Increase in non-native species richness leads to biotic homogenization in vacant lots of a highly urbanized landscape
19. Mai 2019
Abstract Vacant lots, unused lands covered by spontaneous vegetation, are widespread in urban landscapes. Although they are of less conservation value than natural ecosystems, they can provide important ecological services, such as maintaining air quality and mental health, and offering recreational space. Nevertheless, the effects of urbanization on the plant species richness and beta diversity of such lots remain poorly understood. We evaluated how plant species richness and beta diversity differ in vacant herbaceous lots 1) between two urban areas (Montréal and...
Conservation and enhancement of the green infrastructure as a nature-based solution for Rome’s sustainable development
18. Mai 2019
Abstract Three quarters of the European population live in urban areas, which is expected to increase to over 80% by 2050. The well-being of urban citizens appears to be closely linked to the correlation between the growth of urban areas and to the availability of green spaces. The conservation and the enhancement of the Green Infrastructure (GI) can be considered a Nature-Based Solution (NBS) to improve the sustainability of urban development. From this perspective, it is important to identify priority areas close to existing GIs suitable to be preserved from further...
Fungal community composition analysis of 24 different urban parks in Shanghai, China
18. Mai 2019
Abstract Urban parks are an important constituent of cities; they harbour microbial diversity which plays a key role in soil ecosystem functioning. The bacterial diversity of many urban parks around the world has been reported; however, the role of fungi is often ignored. There are only one or two published reports of fungal community composition analysis from urban parks. In the present study, we investigated soil fungal diversity in 24 urban parks in Shanghai using Illumina MiSeq sequencing. At the taxonomic level, 540,657 effective fungal sequences were acquired from...