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Urban Ecosystems 

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Correction to: A comparative study of urban fragmentation patterns in small and mid-sized cities of Idaho
01. Dezember 2018
The Acknowledgements contained an error: In the original statement “This research was supported by the National Science Foundation award IIA – 1301792 from the National Science Foundation Idaho Environmental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Program.”
Correction to: Wellbeing and urban living: nurtured by nature
01. Dezember 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.
Functional connectivity in urban landscapes promoted by Ramphastos toco (Toco Toucan) and its implications for policy making
01. Dezember 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...
Improving confidence in tree species selection for challenging urban sites: a role for leaf turgor loss
01. Dezember 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...
Living in the big city: preference for broad substrates results in niche expansion for urban Anolis lizards
01. Dezember 2018
Abstract Persistence of animals in urban habitats, a stark environmental contrast to natural habitats, can be explained through evaluating the mechanisms behind organism-habitat interactions. One of the most notable effects of urbanization is the change in structural habitat; vegetation is removed and modified, favoring large trees and adding artificial structures in cities, which may alter how organismal preferences for aspects of the habitat are realized. We evaluated the mechanisms by which structural habitat changes associated with urbanization alter the available...
Increased differentiation between individuals, but no genetic isolation from adjacent rural individuals in an urban red squirrel population
01. Dezember 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...
Bird and mammal use of vernal pools along an urban development gradient
01. Dezember 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...
Alien plant species do have a clear preference for different land uses within urban environments
01. Dezember 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...
Modelling of socio-ecological connectivity. The rural-urban network in the surroundings of Madrid (Central Spain)
01. Dezember 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...
A prickly problem: developing a volunteer-friendly tool for monitoring populations of a terrestrial urban mammal, the West European hedgehog ( Erinaceus europaeus )
01. Dezember 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...
Urbanization alters fear behavior in black-capped chickadees
01. Dezember 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...
Species richness, phylogenetic and functional structure of bird communities in Chinese university campuses are associated with divergent variables
01. Dezember 2018
Abstract University campus is an important component of urban landscapes for biodiversity conservation. However, to our knowledge no study has quantitatively assessed the diversity and structure of bird communities in Chinese university campuses, especially from phylogenetic and functional perspectives. Here, for the first time we linked species richness, phylogenetic structure and body mass structure of campus bird communities with contemporary climate, glacial-interglacial climate change, altitudinal range, population density around campus, area and age of campus to...
Exploring structural habitat heterogeneity in sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) for urban biodiversity support
01. Dezember 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...
Reducing management intensity and isolation as promising tools to enhance ground-dwelling arthropod diversity in urban grasslands
01. Dezember 2018
Abstract Urbanisation is a growing global phenomenon having multiple ecological consequences. However, the effects of urbanisation on biodiversity remain ambiguous, and some evidence exists that cities provide valuable secondary habitats for many species, possibly mitigating regional biodiversity loss. Therefore, the value of urban sites for biodiversity depends on local habitat conditions and the configuration of the surrounding landscape. We aimed to disentangle the effects of local habitat parameters (management, plant diversity) and urban matrix variables...
Non-native plants are a seasonal pollen source for native honeybees in suburban ecosystems
01. Dezember 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...
The perfect lawn: exploring neighborhood socio-cultural drivers for insect pollinator habitat
01. Dezember 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...
Development of urban behaviour is associated with time since urbanization in a reed-nesting waterbird
01. Dezember 2018
Abstract Behavioural adaptations are recognized as crucial determinants for successful establishment and persistence of animal populations in a novel urban environment. Here, we examined mechanisms responsible for the development of urban behavioural type in a common waterbird, the Eurasian coot Fulica atra. We compared the behaviour of coots from a rural population and two urban populations that differed in the timing of colonization event (1960s vs. 2000s). We found that some behavioural characters associated with urban life (aggression during nest defence and...
Moving targets: determinants of nutritional preferences and habitat use in an urban ant community
01. Dezember 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...
Depleted suburban house sparrow Passer domesticus population not limited by food availability
01. Dezember 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...
Relationships between urban green land cover and human health at different spatial resolutions
12. November 2018
Abstract Relationships between landscape patterns and ecological processes can vary with changing resolution. Many studies in ecosystem services and human health rely on spatial-dependent data, yet the effects of changes in spatial resolution on the linkages between landscape and human health are underexplored. This study seeks to address the research gap by exploring the relationships of green land cover and pattern metrics at 1 m, 10 m, and 30 m with life expectancy in the City of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Spearman’s rho correlation and stepwise and hierarchical...