- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 772 to 793
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Abstract Urbanization has dramatically altered Earth's landscapes and changed a multitude of environmental factors. This has resulted in intense land‐use change, and adverse consequences such as the urban heat island effect (UHI), noise pollution, and artificial light at night (ALAN). However, there is a lack of research on the combined effects of these environmental factors on life‐history traits and fitness, and on how these interactions shape food resources and drive patterns of species persistence. Here, we systematically reviewed the literature and created a comprehensive framework of the mechanistic pathways by which urbanization affects fitness and thus favors certain species. We found that urbanization‐induced changes in urban vegetation, habitat quality, spring temperature, resource availability, acoustic environment, nighttime light, and species behaviors (e.g., laying, foraging, and communicating) influence breeding choices, optimal time windows that reduce phenological mismatch, and breeding success. Insectivorous and omnivorous species that are especially sensitive to temperature often experience advanced laying behaviors and smaller clutch sizes in urban areas. By contrast, some granivorous and omnivorous species experience little difference in clutch size and number of fledglings because urban areas make it easier to access anthropogenic food resources and to avoid predation. Furthermore, the interactive effect of land‐use change and UHI on species could be synergistic in locations where habitat loss and fragmentation are greatest and when extreme‐hot weather events take place in urban areas. However, in some instances, UHI may mitigate the impact of land‐use changes at local scales and provide suitable breeding conditions by shifting the environment to be more favorable for species' thermal limits and by extending the time window in which food resources are available in urban areas. As a result, we determined five broad directions for further research to highlight that urbanization provides a great opportunity to study environmental filtering processes and population dynamics.more » « less
The field of eco‐evolutionary dynamics is developing rapidly, with a growing number of well‐designed experiments quantifying the impact of evolution on ecological processes and patterns, ranging from population demography to community composition and ecosystem functioning. The key challenge remains to transfer the insights of these proof‐of‐principle experiments to natural settings, where multiple species interact and the dynamics are far more complex than those studied in most experiments.
Here, we discuss potential pitfalls of building a framework on eco‐evolutionary dynamics that is based on data on single species studied in isolation from interspecific interactions, which can lead to both under‐ and overestimation of the impact of evolution on ecological processes. Underestimation of evolution‐driven ecological changes could occur in a single‐species approach when the focal species is involved in co‐evolutionary dynamics, whereas overestimation might occur due to increased rates of evolution following ecological release of the focal species.
In order to develop a multi‐species perspective on eco‐evolutionary dynamics, we discuss the need for a broad‐sense definition of “eco‐evolutionary feedbacks” that includes any reciprocal interaction between ecological and evolutionary processes, next to a narrow‐sense definition that refers to interactions that directly feed back on the interactor that evolves.
We discuss the challenges and opportunities of using more natural settings in eco‐evolutionary studies by gradually adding complexity: (a) multiple interacting species within a guild, (b) food web interactions and (c) evolving metacommunities in multiple habitat patches in a landscape. A literature survey indicated that only a few studies on microbial systems so far developed a truly multi‐species approach in their analysis of eco‐evolutionary dynamics, and mostly so in artificially constructed communities.
Finally, we provide a road map of methods to study eco‐evolutionary dynamics in more natural settings. Eco‐evolutionary studies involving multiple species are necessarily demanding and might require intensive collaboration among research teams, but are highly needed.
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Natural landscape heterogeneity and barriers resulting from urbanization can reduce genetic connectivity between populations. The evolutionary, demographic, and ecological effects of reduced connectivity may lead to population isolation and ultimately extinction. Alteration to the terrestrial and aquatic environment caused by urban influence can affect gene flow, specifically for stream salamanders who depend on both landscapes for survival and reproduction. To examine how urbanization affects a relatively common stream salamander species, we compared genetic connectivity of
Eurycea bislineata(northern two‐lined salamander) populations within and between streams in an urban, suburban, and rural habitat around the New York City (NYC) metropolitan area. We report reduced genetic connectivity between streams within the urban landscape found to correspond with potential barriers to gene flow, that is, areas with more dense urbanization (roadways, industrial buildings, and residential housing). The suburban populations also exhibited areas of reduced connectivity correlated with areas of greater human land use and greater connectivity within a preserve protected from development. Connectivity was relatively high among neighboring rural streams, but a major roadway corresponded with genetic breaks even though the habitat contained more connected green space overall. Despite greater human disturbance across the landscape, urban and suburban salamander populations maintained comparable levels of genetic diversity to their rural counterparts. Yet small effective population size in the urban habitats yielded a high probability of loss of heterozygosity due to genetic drift in the future. In conclusion, urbanization impacted connectivity among stream salamander populations where its continual influence may eventually hinder population persistence for this native species in urban habitats.
1) Urbanization may lead to changes in local richness (alpha diversity) or in community composition (beta diversity), although the direction of change can be challenging to predict. For instance, introduced species may offset the loss of native specialist taxa, leading to no change in alpha diversity in urban areas, but decreased beta diversity (i.e., more homogenous community structure). Alternatively, because urban areas can have low connectivity and high environmental heterogeneity between sites, they may support distinct communities from one another over small geographic distances. 2) Wetlands and ponds provide critical ecosystem services and support diverse communities, making them important systems in which to understand consequences of urbanization. To determine how urban development shapes pond community structure, we surveyed 68 ponds around Madison, Wisconsin, USA, which were classified as urban, greenspace, or rural based on surrounding land use. We evaluated the influence of local abiotic factors, presence of nonnative fishes, and landscape characteristics on alpha diversity of aquatic plants, macroinvertebrates, and vertebrates. We also analyzed whether surrounding land cover was associated with changes in community composition and/or the presence of specific taxa. 3) We found a 23% decrease in mean richness (alpha diversity) from rural to urban pond sites, and a 15% decrease in richness from rural to urban greenspace pond sites. Among landscape factors, observed pond richness was negatively correlated with adjacent developed land and mowed lawns, as well as greater distances to other waterbodies. Among pond level factors, habitat complexity was associated with increased richness, while the presence of invasive fish was associated with decreased richness. 4) Beta diversity was relatively high for all ponds due to turnover in composition between sites. Urban ponds supported more introduced species, lacked a subset of native species found in rural ponds, and had slightly higher beta diversity than greenspace and rural ponds. 5) Synthesis and Applications: Integrating ponds into connected greenspaces comprised of native vegetation (rather than mowed grass), preventing nonnative fish introductions, and promoting habitat complexity may mitigate negative effects of urbanization on aquatic richness. The high beta diversity of distinct pond communities emphasizes their importance to biodiversity support in urban environments, despite being small in size and rarely incorporated into urban conservation planning.more » « less
null (Ed.)Abstract Background Mobile animals transport nutrients and propagules across habitats, and are crucial for the functioning of food webs and for ecosystem services. Human activities such as urbanization can alter animal movement behavior, including site fidelity and resource use. Because many urban areas are adjacent to natural sites, mobile animals might connect natural and urban habitats. More generally, understanding animal movement patterns in urban areas can help predict how urban expansion will affect the roles of highly mobile animals in ecological processes. Methods Here, we examined movements by a seasonally nomadic wading bird, the American white ibis ( Eudocimus albus ), in South Florida, USA. White ibis are colonial wading birds that forage on aquatic prey; in recent years, some ibis have shifted their behavior to forage in urban parks, where they are fed by people. We used a spatial network approach to investigate how individual movement patterns influence connectivity between urban and non-urban sites. We built a network of habitat connectivity using GPS tracking data from ibis during their non-breeding season and compared this network to simulated networks that assumed individuals moved indiscriminately with respect to habitat type. Results We found that the observed network was less connected than the simulated networks, that urban-urban and natural-natural connections were strong, and that individuals using urban sites had the least-variable habitat use. Importantly, the few ibis that used both urban and natural habitats contributed the most to connectivity. Conclusions Habitat specialization in urban-acclimated wildlife could reduce the exchange of propagules and nutrients between urban and natural areas, which has consequences both for beneficial effects of connectivity such as gene flow and for detrimental effects such as the spread of contaminants or pathogens.more » « less