Mother of dragons in the city

City habitats are often much warmer due to lower forest cover and an increased density of manmade surfaces which retain heat. Increased temperatures can greatly affect animals that develop as male or female depending on the incubation temperature of the eggs. Read on to find out how mothers of eastern water dragons deal with living in the warm cities of Australia.

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Let’s Paint the Town Green!

Many places around the world are searching for ways to balance a growing population while also caring for the environment. Developers, policymakers, and citizens everywhere are concerned with maintaining biodiversity while developing economies and building homes and businesses for humans. New research from the European Union aims to balance the use of ecosystem services and conservation efforts by introducing green infrastructure. This new way to look at land use can have important implications for the future of development and policy-making in the European Union, and throughout the world.

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Preserving Culturally-Important Xochimilco Wetlands Requires Policy and Personal Change

Created by the Aztecs in 500 CE for agriculture, Xochimilco is an area of culturally important wetlands in southern Mexico City. Despite its cultural and economic importance, this area is experiencing wetland degradation and loss due to urban development and water quality issues. Even with a high level of local concern about wetland degradation, little effort will be made toward conservation without a change in public policies regarding local infrastructure and development.

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Are your car’s windshield wipers helping your town’s stormwater management?

You decide to go out and run some errands on your day off, even though there is a chance of rain in the forecast. You are just starting your 30-minute walk back to your house and get caught in a torrential downpour. You are now forced to call a ride-share because you know the stream next to the path on your way back will likely flood and you would have to take the long way home. Once in the car, you are happy you do not have to walk in the rain. Little do you know, the car you are in may actually help improve rainfall maps and with that urban stormwater management. How? The car’s windshield wipers are turned on!

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Out to lunch or sticking with the worm diet? Food decisions of the Australian ibis

If you’ve been to a busy park during lunch hour, surely, you’ve noticed that many birds are on the prowl for some of your delicious lunch crumbs! Recently, urban ecologists have been interested in learning how much human food animals eat, and how it might affect them. Read on to learn more about how the Australian ibis decides whether to grab some human grub or stick to its natural diet.

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It’s a nutrient, it’s a deicer, it’s polluting our environment.

Winter is over… Or at least according to the calendar. Yet, this morning I awoke to flurries in Cambridge, Massachusetts. These flurries turned into full-fledged snowfall by the time I got to work. Really? It’s April 2nd. The good thing is that hopefully the city will not see the need to salt the roads heavily because it should be warm enough to prevent ice patches from forming.

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Permanent urban resident edges out an urban newcomer

For many animals, life in the city is no easy task. However, some animals are able to exploit the features of the city and resulting in larger body sizes and more reproductive advantages compared to forest populations. Read more to find out whether a permanent urban resident and an urban newcomer both gain these advantages in the city.

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How much does pollution increase as cities grow?

People worldwide are increasingly living in cities. Urban life has many benefits including economic growth, but large concentrations of people and their activities can lead to increased pollution. A recent study evaluated the trade-offs between pollution and urbanization to see if the economic benefits outweigh the negative health impacts.

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Are only predestine areas healthy? Using data on scenic values as an indicator for human health

We usually assume that any greenness is good for our health: grass, trees, pastures, mountains. Researchers from the Warwick Business School set out to challenge this assumption using crowd-sourced data and found that it actually is “scenicness” (think castles, parks, and aqueducts) that is a better predictor for health. They show that this finding not only holds true in the countryside, where we usually assume we’ll find healthier people, but also extends into cities. Now they are using this information to inform policymakers on which areas to protect for improved human well-being.

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