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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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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Green spaces that are more than just green

Many urban ecologists are looking to shift the perception of what the “green” in green space should actually signify. New avenues within lawn research and development can help communities embrace wildness over uniformity in urban ecosystems, and push for the creation of urban green spaces that are more resilient to climate change.

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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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One man’s waste water is another man’s “accidental” wetland: How urban wetlands can revolutionize restoration

After the Salt River passes through the metropolitan area of Phoenix, AZ about 90% of the original water has been removed for human and agriculture use. Because of reduced water connectivity, similar to many urban streamside areas, plant and wildlife diversity in the Phoenix area have taken a big hit. “Accidental” wetlands forming along the river may be the money-saving restoration solution Phoenix, and hundreds of other cities, are looking for.

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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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Birds evolve bigger beaks thanks to backyard feeders

Echoing Charles Darwin’s study of Galapagos finches, biologists in Great Britain have found that the size of birds’ beaks is adapted to help them eat certain types of food. But unlike Darwin’s finches, the British food sources influencing bird evolution aren’t natural features of the environment. They’re backyard bird feeders.

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Connecting to nature and understanding ecosystem services: the urban perspective

Food and water – two resources vital for life on Earth. These are two prime examples of the products that arise from ecosystem services. There are four broad categories of ecosystem services: provisioning regulating, supporting, and cultural. Food and water are a form of ecosystem service provisioning – these are the products that directly benefit humans. Globalization and climate change are increasingly threatening food and water security, and other vital ecosystem services throughout the world.

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Fat and happy in the city

Wildlife may not always struggle when living in the city. For example, many birds and mammals benefit from access to human food and in some cases, encounter fewer predators in the city. Learning more about how wildlife deals with life in the city can help us learn what features of the city benefit or harm different species. Eastern chipmunks are abundant in both forest and urban habitats making them a suitable species to study to determine whether populations living in the city do better or worse. Researchers found that chipmunks in the city were fatter than forest chipmunks and less stressed, highlighting how some animals can thrive because of urbanization.

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